County Councillor for Gartree – November 2023
Free Tree and Hedge Scheme
Leicestershire County Council is working in partnership with the Woodland Trust to offer free tree and hedgerow packs, which are designed to help renew and restore existing woodland and vegetation, as well as replacing trees which have been affected by diseases such as ash dieback and encouraging more tree planting across the county.
The deadline for applying for these free tree and hedge packs has now been extended from 31 October to Thursday 30 November, with successful applicants able to collect their trees from Beaumanor Hall in Woodhouse on Wednesday 21 February 2024.
Anyone who would like to apply for a free tree or hedgerow pack is asked to register by emailing email@example.com with your name, email address, phone number and planting location.
Waste site consultation now open
As the council looks to reduce costs whilst minimising the impact on residents, the 12-week consultation is now open until 24 January 2024, with proposals including:
- Closing three out of the current fourteen recycling and household waste sites – Market Harborough, Shepshed and Somerby.
- Changing the opening days at Bottesford and Melton Mowbray.
- Closing all sites on Christmas Eve.
- Changing summer opening hours at all recycling and household waste sites.
Following the consultation, the Cabinet will consider options in the Spring of 2024.
The proposed closures would save £270,000 per year, with the change in summer opening hours saving a further £150,000 per year. The county council has repeatedly highlighted their current financial pressures, including a budget shortfall of well over £100m by 2027.
Alternative sites are available within easy reach of the suggested closures to ensure impact on residents is minimal, including use of the newly refurbished site at Kibworth for residents who currently use the Market Harborough site.
Statement of Common Ground
Harborough District Council and Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council are the two remaining districts in Leicestershire that have not signed the Statement of Common Ground. This ensures that all planning authorities in an area – the county and city – are collaborating over the housing numbers in their area. In brief, this means each area, if they sign the Statement, has a duty to collaborate over housing targets.
The city and five districts have signed as they have been working on or adopting their Local Plans with housing numbers over recent years and, by signing the Statement, have agreed to take some of the city’s overspill housing numbers which the city planners say cannot be built within the city boundaries.
HDC were due to debate and decide about signing the Statement at the council meeting on 18 September, but the debate was deferred to the next council meeting on 6 November while further evidence was collected.
A public meeting about this matter was called by the three MPs covering the Harborough District (Neil O’Brien, Alberto Costa and Alicia Kearns) on Friday 3 November. Several hundred people attended in the Methodist Church, Market Harborough, and additional evidence was presented. The majority of people indicated their opposition to HDC taking any overspill housing from Leicester City.
At the HDC council meeting on Monday 6 November, members voted unanimously to again defer the debate about signing the Statement until 11 December.