Agenda item

Items Raised by Residents


(1) In 2017 SLM took over the running of Brocks Hill for what I understood to be a 17 year lease. Could the Chair clarify what the arrangement with SLM currently is, and what it will be when the Council move into the building? Will SLM be in effect sub-letting to the Council, and if so, at what cost?


OWBC have allowed SLM to use the Brocks Hill site and lease the café. OWBC will be taking the site back at no cost. SLM will continue to lease the café.


(2) As part of the agreed refurbishment of the Brocks Hill building prior to, and as a condition of, their taking over the lease, I believe a sprung floor was installed at a cost of Circa £400k. Could the Chair indicate how many classes took place at Brocks Hill following that installation, and if they will continue?


Speaking to the General Manager at Everyone Active, the floor was adapted to be semi-sprung to allow multi-purpose use of the room. The room has since been used for a variety of different functions both during the day and evening. An example of this is an existing cheerleading class moving over from Parklands to Brocks Hill 3 times a week. Upon OWBC moving into Brocks Hill, this room will not be open to the public. This may change over time.


The resident confirmed that a typo was made in this question, and that the figure should read as £104k.


(3) Could the Chair give an update on the Customer Service provision plans?


The Customer Service Experience Strategy consultation closed on 23rd December 2022, results are now being analysed and considered and will feed into the final strategy.


The main proposals are:

·       To promote, encourage and support a digital-first model in acknowledgement that most customers prefer to self-serve using the council’s digital offer – such as the website.

·       To continue to provide an excellent supported service offer by telephone, email, virtual video appointment and similar.

·       To increase our face-to-face offering, considering appointment hubs, and a reception facility at our new head office.

No decisions have been made at this stage, but we will be using the customer feedback from the recent consultation to direct our strategy.

We are driven to find to the correct balance between encouraging and advancing our digital customer service offer while also ensuring those that are unable to contact us in this way have direct access to the support they need.


Cllr. Ridley noted that there is a push from Members to see Officers conducting face-to-face meetings and appointments where possible, potentially operating out of libraries that is being discussed with LCC.


Cllr. Haq notes that a dedicated room will be present at Brocks Hill for face-to-face meetings with Officers and Members for members of the public.


Concerns were raised that only one bus route services Brocks Hill, and that this will be a barrier to residents attending the new Council Offices, especially those that live in Wigston and South Wigston. It was also noted that the offices themselves are situated up a hill, after a fairly long walk along Washbrook Lane and the car parks there, which may also put people off of visiting the offices.


An additional query was raised around the introduction of 30 minute free car parking spaces at Brocks Hill once the new Council Offices open. Members will look at the possibility of this going forward.


One resident raised concerns that Brocks Hill is not large enough to accommodate all of the Council’s staff, and that should officers be unable to afford to work from home it is not clear how they will be able to do so from the new offices. It was noted that the existing building is underused due to the size of the Council’s workforce, and that a one for one duplication of the workspace is not required at Brocks Hill.


It was also suggested that Council staff working out of Brocks Hill park in the overflow car park at Parklands, leaving the spaces closer to the building free for members of the public. The car parking situation at Brocks Hill will be reviewed ahead of the new offices opening.


£1.2m loan was also queried; it was noted that this is to be repaid over 30 years with a very low interest rate, and has been amalgamated into the ‘cost neutral’ status of the new offices from the sale of Bushloe House. Brocks Hill is expected to save the Council £2m over the next 10 years.


(4) A meeting of the Brocks Hill Development Committee in June included an agenda item from which the public and press were barred. Could the Chair give a general indication what this item referred to?


The report comprised an update in respect of the Brocks Hill/Office relocation project. The exclusion of the press and public was on the grounds that the Agenda item involved the likely disclosure of exempt information (as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972).


Jubilee Tree – In view of the passage of time would it not be more appropriate for this to now be a memorial tree? This can be discussed at a future meeting of the Forum once the Tree Officer has completed the feasibility study. It may be that a second tree is considered as a memorial.


Consultation on the sale of public land near St Peter’s Church, Oadby – The committee responsible for this decision is meeting next month, with an update to be made available at the next Oadby residents forum following the committee meeting. This committee meeting is a public meeting, with details available on the Council’s website.


Planning application for houses off of Florence Wragg Way, Oadby - Public meeting at Manor High School, 25 January, 6:30pm. Council Officers will also be in attendance. It was queried if the land covered by the application is part of land that was thought to be eventually gifted to the public. Concerns were also raised around how children on the new development would travel to school, with it believed they would be attending Brookside Primary School with no direct route to the school from the development.


Proposed five-a-side football development at Washbrook Lane, Oadby – No report on this has been received by the Council’s planning committee so it is believed the application is for this is still live.