Gartree News for March 2021

The positive covid-19 case number rates per 100,000 daily for the Kibworth and Great Glen Middle layer Super Output Area (MSOA) have levelled out at around 100. This is higher than the average for England but lower than Leicester.

With students returning to school on 8 March the positive cases may begin to increase again. However rapid flow testing is now available to all those students whose parents have given consent. I am hopeful that this will help keep the new case numbers down.

Collapsed wall in Smeeton Westerby

A wall alongside Main Street, when going into Smeeton Westerby from Kibworth Beauchamp, collapsed into the road on Monday 15 February. Fortunately volunteers picked up the bricks and rubble and moved it to the side of the road. There has been no definitive reason provided as to why the wall fell down. Vibrations from passing vehicles, especially HGVs, wet weather conditions and strong winds have all been suggested. Witnesses have reported the wall leaning for some time.

The owner took down the wall on the opposite side of Main Street as a result of the collapse. This had also been leaning for some 6 months.

Like many local villages in our area there are brick walls that have been standing for generations but which lean and which could collapse like this one. Hopefully owners have them checked, taken down if unsafe and rebuilt if necessary.

What the collapsed wall did highlight is the narrowness of the footpaths and low kerbs at this point on Main Street entering Smeeton Westerby, which is a Conservation Area. Pedestrians are regularly walking along the road to maintain social distancing. At night this can be more hazardous with only few street lights in that part of the village.

Smeeton Westerby parish council met on Wednesday 3 March. I had another appointment and couldn’t attend myself. So I arranged for the Traffic and Signals Team Manager from LCC Highways to be on the Zoom call. Residents also attended the online meeting. I look forward to the report from LCC Highways in due course about what can be done regarding HGVs and vibration, speeding traffic and improving the narrow pavement and low kerbs.

Census 2021 – 21  March

With the 2021 census coming up on Sunday 21 March, I’ve had a look as to when it all started. The first official census was in 1801, but the 1841 census, run by the then new registration service, is regarded as the first modern census. For the first time, the head of each household was given a form to fill in on behalf of everyone in the household on a certain day. This system has stood the test of time, and it still forms the basis of the method used today. This year will be the twenty-first such modern census (the 1941 census was not held).

Your answers to the census questions will help organisations like local authorities make decisions on planning and funding public services in our area, including transport, education and healthcare.

Cycling & Walking Survey

I hope some readers were able to take part in the month long survey which closed on 14 March. At the time of writing this report almost 1,500 people had completed the survey.  This response shows just how important cycling and walking is to people across the county, and it is very good that so many people have taken the time to complete the survey and play their part in helping to shape the cycling and walking provision for the future.

Individuals, groups, businesses and communities taking part in the survey have been asked for their views on:

  • how they currently travel
  • what deters them from cycling and walking
  • and what improvements could be made which would encourage them to make more journeys by bike or on foot. 

One aim of this survey was to bring benefits, in terms of creating healthier communities, and reducing carbon emissions. The County Council has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2030.