Council changes Council Tax support scheme and liability charges

Blaby District Council’s Cabinet Executive has approved plans to amend the current Council Tax Support Scheme from 01 April 2019 and to make amendments to Council Tax liability charges on second homes and empty properties.

Following significant reductions in central government funding, the Council no longer receives money based on the Council Tax Support provided to households. This money must now be found by Blaby District Council through its central budget.

The major changes to Blaby District Council’s Council Tax will be:

  • Remove the 10% discount on properties classed as a “second home” in the district
  • Charge 200% Council Tax on properties that have been empty for more than two years

Council Tax Support Scheme changes will be:

  • Treating self-employed people in receipt of Universal Credit as receiving the minimum wage after at least 12 months trading – there will be some exemptions to this rule. This will align with Universal Credit regulations.
  • To align the Council Tax Support Scheme with current Housing Benefit Regulations.

The changes could save around £163,000 which will be shared between the recipients of Council Tax; including Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service. Blaby District Council’s saving share could total £14,750.

Following feedback from residents during the six-week consultation in August and September of this year, proposals to increase the minimum some claimants have to pay for their Council Tax from the current rate of 15% were not put forward.

During the consultation, 86% of people agreed that the Council should remove the second home discount, with 83% agreeing to the 200% charge for long-term empty properties.

Councillor Lee Breckon, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “These changes reinforce our aim to bring as many empty properties in the district back into use. These are properties many people would love to make their home, and the 200% charge will hopefully be an incentive for owners.

“We want to thank everyone who gave us their views during the consultation and we took these into account when making our decision. We do not want to place any additional burden on vulnerable residents of the district. The welfare of our residents most in need is more important than cost savings.”

The results and comments from the consultation can be found using the links below:

Consultation Responses

Comments on the proposed views

Comments on further suggestions

District celebrates sports stars at annual awards

 

The sporting community of Blaby District came together at Countesthorpe Leysland Community College to celebrate the ninth annual Blaby District Local Sports Alliance Awards.

Sponsored by Everyone Active, the evening honours sporting stars, clubs and volunteers who have reached the top of their chosen sport. Eight winners were honoured and presented with trophies before an audience finalists, family and friends, sponsors and specially invited guests. The evening is hosted by BBC Radio Leicester’s Ian Stringer.

Winners included Sports Person of the Year Connor Harris, the Shooting champion who became one of the youngest people in Britain to shoot a perfect score of 300. His perfect score ensure he beat his brother, Alex Harris, to the U-21 European DTL Championship by just two points.

Youngster Matthew Pietrzyk won Sport Person of the Year (with a disability). Both before and after Matthew’s kidney transplant he was part of the award-winning Leicester Panthers U-13 Dodgeball team who won the British Championships. He is also a tireless campaigner raising donor awareness.

Volunteer of the Year Was awarded to Mitch Barsby, who led a volunteer team that brilliantly organised the final rounds of the British Cycling BMX National Championships at the Pavilion Leisure Centre in Huncote. Hosting over 3,000 spectators, 900 riders, the event was hailed as the “best national of the year” and gave the Huncote Hornets BMX Club widespread publicity.

Councillor Iain Hewson, Portfolio Holder for Health Improvement, Leisure & Regulatory Services, said: “Every year these awards show us the amount of sporting talent and the selfless volunteers we have in the district is endless. We are proud of them all, and hope they continue their incredible achievements.

“I want to thank all of our category sponsors, including our main sponsor Everyone Active, for helping us to make this night possible and ensuring we can celebrate these outstanding achievements in front of finalists’ friends and families.”

All winners are put forward for the next Leicester Mercury Sports Awards.

For information on funding that can be awarded to talented young athletes in Blaby District, e-mail leisure@blaby.gov.uk or call 0116 272 7703.

List of winners and runners-up:

Active4Life – Health and Wellbeing Award (Sponsored by the Mick Allard)

Winner: Kerrie Neville
Runners-up: Mary Green & Glen Parva Walking Group

Coach of the Year (Sponsored by The Pavilion Leisure Centre)

Winner: Ray Phipkin (South Leicestershire Badminton Club)
Runners-up: Katie Suffolk (White Tigers Girls & Enderby Junior Dodgeball Club), Frank Garratt

Sports Team of the Year (Sponsored by The Lime Tree, Dovecote and Copt Oak)

Winner: Leicester Sharks Diddy Team
Runners-up: Leicester Panthers U13 Dodgeball, Leicester Panthers Dodgeball Team

Young Sports Person of the Year (Sponsored by Thorps Lettings Ltd)

Winner: Sophie Holmes (Figure & Free Skating)
Runners-up: Keanna Kowal (Swimming) & Maddy Squires (Athletics)

Sports Person of the Year (Sponsored by Everards)

Winner: Connor Harris (Shooting)
Runners-up: Lizzie Warner (Archery) & Harriett West (Swimming)

Volunteer of the Year (Sponsored by Leicestershire Rugby Union)

Winner: Mitch Barsby (Leicester Huncote Hornets)Runners-up: Lewis Haslam (BMX) & Bud Franks (Football)

Sports Person of the Year (with a disability) (Sponsored by Rutland Cycling)

Winner: Matthew Pietrzyk (Dodgeball),
Runners-up: Toby Sweeney-Croft (Multiple Sports) & Fynn Kyser (Bowls)

Local Sports Alliance Special Recognition Award(Sponsored by BIG RED Magazine)

Winner: Leona Knott
Runners-up: Alexandra Hoult (Greenfield Primary School) & David Price & Stuart Carhart (Vipers RFC)

Remembrance Sunday 11th November 2018

Remembrance Sunday 11th November 2018

With the 100 year anniversary of the end of the first world war, it was a pleasure that the village welcomed their MP Mr. Alberto Costa and the also the Chairman of Blaby District Council, Mrs. Sharon Coe to the village to join in the Remembrance Parade and service at the War Memorial. The Parish Council discussed suitable options to mark this important 100 year anniversary. After looking at the various options it agreed on the  installation of a wrought iron remembrance bench next to the Village War Memorial as a lasting and fitting tribute. It gives villagers a place to sit and reflect on those loved ones that are no longer here in presence but very much in spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembrance Day 2018 itself was started by torrential rain which could have lessened the numbers at the parade, but the people of Whetstone (Duckpaddlers) turned out in what seemed to be more numbers than last year if that was possible. It was a little breezy but the sun came out and we were all able to honour those brave villagers who marched away to war and never came back, and whose names are on our War Memorial.  Lots of different Community groups, Veterans and members of the Parish Council also marched in the parade.

Whetstone, well done as always you were BRILLIANT !

 

 

 

Best of Blaby District celebrated

 

 

Eight finalists honoured at fifteenth Outstanding Achievement Awards 

Blaby District Council’s fifteenth celebration to recognise individuals and groups from District of Blaby for their selfless work within their communities took place on Thursday 05 October.

Eight finalists and their families joined special guests and sponsors to enjoy the evening and honour the unsung heroes. BBC East Midlands Today’s Maurice Flynn hosted the ceremony.

Finalists included the inspirational 13-year-old Emma McCarron of Narborough, whose father is battling cancer, who took Young Achiever of the Year for her work raising over £5,000 for the charity Hope Against Cancer.

Thorpe Astley resident Michaela Garfield won Good Friend/Good Neighbour after being the backbone of her street, offering support and friendship to neighbours suffering illness and going through hard times for over 15 years.

Blaby Scout Leader Betty Saunders won Volunteer of the Year after serving her local scout group for 37 years, whilst Commbus took the title of Best Community Group/Achievement for their work in helping elderly and disabled residents maintain their independence through the voluntary transport service.

Councillor Terry Richardson, Leader of Blaby District Council, said: “I am so proud as leader to see us host these awards for the fifteenth consecutive year. The Judging Panel and I had an extremely hard task of whittling the 43 nominees down to the eight we saw honoured on the night.

“All of those nominated deserve praise for the selfless work they do in their local community. We know that thousands of volunteers are what make this dirstrict a great place to live.

“We would like to thank every person that has taken time to submit nominations and put forward their district heroes and I am consistently in awe of the incredible work we get to hear about.

“I want to congratulate all the finalists and to personally thank our sponsors who make this event possible.

Our awards are funded entirely through the incredibly generous sponsorship of businesses who contribute to the economic viability of our District”

Davidsons Homes are the main sponsors of the awards, along with category sponsors Fosse, Marriott Leicester, Ford and Slater and Countryside Properties.

Full list of winners and runners up:

  • Good Friend/Good Neighbour – Winner: Michaela Garfield (Thorpe Astley), Runner-up: Janet Chapman (Croft)
  • Volunteer of the Year – Winner: Betty Saunders (Blaby), Runner-up: Josie Sharp (Enderby)
  • Young Achiever of Year – Winner: Emma McCarron (Narborough), Runner-up: Jack Wheeler (Thorpe Astley)
  • Best Community Group/Community Achievement – Winner: Commbus Community Transport, Runner Up: Thurlaston Carnival Committee

District leaders pledge to continue to work together

 

 

The leaders of all seven district councils have today unanimously agreed to continue working together to review the current model of local government in Leicestershire.

The leaders of Blaby, Charnwood, Melton, Oadby and Wigston, North West Leicestershire, Harborough and Hinckley and Bosworth councils, said in a joint statement: “The district councils are continuing to work together to look at future service delivery in Leicestershire to ensure it is lean, effective and in touch with residents.

“Any potential changes need to be based on a thorough assessment of all options and backed by evidence and communities.

“The district councils will ensure residents, partners and stakeholders are involved in the conversation and fully consulted. The needs of our residents will be put first.”

 

Lightbulb service celebrates first anniversary

Following a year of work transforming the lives of residents across Leicestershire, “Lightbulb” is celebrating one year since the partnership began delivering this innovative service.

Hosted by Blaby District Council and in partnership with Leicestershire County Council, the district councils, the county’s Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s), Leicestershire Partnership Trust, and University Hospitals of Leicester, Lightbulb is a centralised, integrated housing support service which helps people to remain independent in their own homes.

During its first year, Lightbulb has helped over 3,200 people across the county, improved hospital discharge for 600 people, reduced waiting times for minor housing adaptations, with 89% of service users reporting an improvement in their physical and mental health.

A typical case is a person with mobility issues caused by Drop Foot, Arthritis and respiratory problems, who was reluctantly looking to move into supported living. Due to the advice and practical support of the Lightbulb service, and with one point of contact to coordinate everything needed, suitable minor and major adaptations were installed.

They were delighted to be able to remain in their own home, and stay connected to their local community, which is so important to their overall wellbeing.

The pioneering project has been featured in local and national media, and has attracted interest from other local authorities keen to understand how a Lightbulb service in their area could benefit their residents.

Lightbulb has achieved three major accolades in the first year of operation: winning the Local Government Chronicle award for best Public/Public Partnership, named the Best Collaborative Working Initiative by the Association for Public Service Excellence, and highly commended at the Home Improvement Agency Awards.

Councillor Lee Breckon, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “Everyone associated with Blaby District Council is so proud of Lightbulb’s achievements in its first year. It has improved lives and made accessing help easier.

“We have made a significant difference to people across the county through innovative partnership working, and I’m looking forward to an equally successful second year.”

Residents can find out more about help within their home by visiting www.leicestershire.gov.uk/adult-social-care-and-health or calling 0116 305 0004.

Plan sets out future growth

 

A PLAN setting out how Leicester and Leicestershire will grow in the future is set to be agreed by local partners.

The Strategic Growth Plan has been developed by a partnership made up of Leicester City and Leicestershire County councils, the seven local borough and district authorities and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP). It puts forward proposals for future development, including housing provision, that will be needed to support population change, meet housing needs and support economic growth from now until 2050.

Following public consultation, a revised plan has been agreed by a members’ advisory group representing all the partners. It will now be used to help shape the Local Plans that the city, borough and district councils are preparing or reviewing.

It will also be used to support bids for Government funding to deliver the infrastructure needed to support growth.

People were invited to comment on the plan by taking part in a county-wide consultation, which ran from 11 January until 10 May 2018. In total, 588 responses were received, 79 per cent of which were from members of the public, with others received from local businesses, developers, landowners, voluntary groups and stakeholders such as parish councils, the police and health.

The comments received were analysed and considered during the preparation of the revised Strategic Growth Plan, which is what is now being put forward.

The plan estimates that Leicester and Leicestershire needs 96,580 new homes and 367-423 hectares of employment land from 2011-2031. These homes have already been built, have planning permission, or are already allocated to be built in adopted or emerging Local Plans.

Beyond 2031, the plan identifies the need for a further 90,500 dwellings and additional employment land. Local Plans will deal with the detailed allocation of which sites will be brought forward for potential development.

Major infrastructure improvements would also be needed to allow for new growth. These include a new link road – the A46 Expressway – to the south and east of Leicester, connecting strategic highways to the west of the city with the M1 and A46 to the north-east. No decisions have yet been made about the exact route of this road, which would be subject to extensive further consultation before going ahead.

The A5 and A42 would also be upgraded to expressway status, supporting growth in these areas. Rail improvements are proposed, too, to provide improved connections to Coventry and Birmingham.

These road and rail improvements would require significant Government investment and would relieve congestion pressures along the M1 and more widely across the Midlands.

Key areas for potential growth are the city of Leicester and the corridor of land around the proposed new road.  A secondary area for growth is identified in the north of the county – there would be a ‘Leicestershire international gateway’ close to East Midlands Airport and major employers in the area.

However, plans for a ‘southern gateway’, close to Magna Park, have been dropped after feedback from the consultation. Instead, the focus will be on the A5 corridor, where improvements to the A5 will support growth.

Growth and regeneration is also proposed for Melton, where it would support transport improvements and relieve congestion in the town.

Trevor Pendleton, chair of the Strategic Growth Plan Members’ Advisory Group, said: “It’s extremely positive that 10 local partners have joined together to formulate and agree on a long-term plan for our city and county’s future. We need to work to together to manage development, focusing it in key areas, so that our city and county can grow and prosper.

“This plan will also help us bid for national funding, which is essential to get the sort of infrastructure improvements that will help to ease congestion and drive growth.

“The plan will influence more locally-made decisions on planning and development. It gives more control over planning matters back to local authorities and will inform the Local Plans that each authority develops, which set out in more detail how they will allow and encourage future growth.

“We know that some of these proposals are controversial. They are not easy decisions. But we need to be strategic about how we manage future growth so that it is focused, sustainable and of benefit to the people who live and work here.”

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The future prosperity of our city and county is a key priority for all the partners who have shaped this plan. Thinking ahead is vital to ensure we get the best possible deal for Leicester and Leicestershire, particularly when it comes to getting funding for infrastructure improvements.

“We are all committed to protecting the environment and heritage that make our city, county and market towns so special. We also have ambitious plans and a strong shared vision to ensure that we get the best possible deal for Leicester and Leicestershire. Together, our voice is stronger.”

Nick Rushton, leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “I really welcome the production of the plan, it makes the area a real trailblazer in terms of the rest of the country.

“From our perspective, there’s now a long-term vision which helps us to better plan for the future. That’s particularly important in bidding for Government funding towards the transport infrastructure needed to support further growth.”

The Strategic Growth Plan will now be considered by the local councils which developed it, with the aim of having the plan approved by mid-December.

To find out more about the plan, visit the website at llstrategicgrowthplan.org.uk

Blaby named fifth happiest district in UK

The District of Blaby has been named the fifth happiest location in the UK following the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) Annual Happiness Study.

Looking at Life satisfaction, Worthwhile, Happiness and Anxiety, the ONS report shows that the happiness level of the district is 8.11 out of 10, compared with the national average of 7.7. This figure is the highest recorded in the district by the ONS since the report began in 2011.

Life satisfaction rose to 7.9/10, Worthwhile grew to 8.2/10 whilst Anxiety dropped to 2.6/10.

The ranking of fifth happiest in the UK is the highest in Leicestershire. Last year the district was rated as the third best place to live for people aged 20-29 on a Channel 4 show.

Blaby District is home to over 95,000 residents in 24 parishes and includes major employers such as Next, Sytner and Topps Tiles, who all have their head offices in the area. Fosse Shopping Park, which welcomes over 10 million visitors a year, is also based in the district.

Villages in the district host nationally renowned events, including the Victory Show in Cosby. The village of Huncote will be hosting the British Cycling BMX National Championships at the Pavilion Leisure Centre over the coming weekend (28-30 September.)

Councillor Terry Richardson, Leader of Blaby District Council, said: “We are extremely proud to be placed so highly once again in the ONS study, and we’re especially pleased to see our residents’ overall happiness at record levels.

“Whilst this cannot be all about Blaby District Council, the way in which we work with partners to deliver fantastic projects and great design in our community, keep our streets clean and have fantastic parks and open spaces to visit as well as delivering high quality services all contribute to this success.

“With a thriving new community in Lubbesthorpe, the expansion of Fosse Park and the exciting new Everards Meadows development coming over the next few years we know that the district will continue to be a great place to live, work and visit.”

More information on the ONS study is available by visiting their website.

 

Consultation on Local Plan Modifications underway

 

 

A consultation on the Blaby District Local Plan Delivery Development Plan Document (DPD) has begun following sixteen changes to the original proposals.

The “Main Modifications” have been suggested by an Independent Inspector following a five day public examination during in July and August. The modifications include:

  • Removing the requirement  to include self and custom build housing on large sites
  • A Review Policy setting out when a Local Plan Review must take place
  • Wording changes to bring document in line with national policy and clarity
  • Changes to the size limit of a housing site where a proportion of accessible and adaptable homes are required. This modification also includes the addition of wording to take into account potential viability issues on a case-by-case basis.

The consultation is now open until 4.45pm on Friday 26 October 2018. Once the consultation has closed, the Independent Inspector will review the consultation responses and recommend whether or not the Local Plan Delivery DPD can be adopted by the Council.

When adopted, the Delivery DPD, along with the Local Plan Core Strategy, will become a vital document used to make decisions on all planning applications within the district.

Full details on the modifications and how to respond to the consultation can be found via www.blaby.gov.uk/deliverydpd-examination.

Bite Back Campaign Launches

 

Residents are being encouraged to take part in Blaby District Council’s Bite Back initiative; a new, three part campaign aimed at more responsible dog ownership.

Designed to involve the local community in helping to police their area, residents contacting the Council will receive a free Bite Back Pack, containing weather-proof posters, dog bags, stencil kits for pavements and an info pack on how to report anyone not picking up after their dog.

With a large rural area across the district, farmers can also order their own hard-hitting posters highlighting the dangers of not keeping a dog under control. In July a sheep in Countesthorpe was mauled by a dog off lead, with the farmer’s wife and young daughters discovering the injured animal. Due to the extensive injuries sustained the sheep had to be put down.

A further poster shows the consequences of failing to clean up after dogs around livestock, showing the potentially devastating effects of disease that dog faeces can carry.

Sports teams, local organisations and owners of recreation areas in the district can also receive their own free posters and pack to deter irresponsible dog owners that can cause issues in play areas and sports pitches by failing to control their dog.

Councillor Iain Hewson, Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Regulatory Services, said: “We know that whilst the vast majority of dog owners are responsible, the small number who have no respect for their local area have a negative impact in the local community, and can cause distress and long-term problems to farmers in our more rural areas.

“These upsetting effects are shown in the rural posters and we make no apologies for the hard hitting nature of them.

“With all circumstances covered by our Bite Back campaign, I encourage any residents, farmers and local organisations to get in touch, and we will help them launch the campaign in their area.”

To receive a pack, email environmental.health@blaby.gov.uk. More information about the campaign is available by visiting www.blaby.gov.uk/biteback.