MINUTES of a meeting of the PLANNING COMMITTEE held in the

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MINUTES of a meeting of the PLANNING COMMITTEE held in the Powered By Docstoc
the Board Room, Council Offices, Coalville on TUESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2004.

Present: Councillor S J Peace (Chairman) (In the Chair)

Councillors K S Clarke, M J Chadbourn, P Clayfield, and N Smith

In attendance:

Dave Berry (Social Inclusion Officer, NWLDC)
Lesley Birtwistle (Scrutiny Officer, NWLDC)
Yvette Connors (Committee Clerk, NWLDC)
John Forde (Charnwood and North West Leicestershire PCT)
Dave Halstead (Manager of Community Services)
Lesley Massey (NWLCVS)

Apologies for absence were received from Sandra Baxter, Julian Harrison and Lorraine

The following declarations of personal and prejudicial interests were received:

Councillor Peace declared a prejudicial interest in Money Tree Credit Union.

Councillor Clayfield declared a prejudicial interest in Money Tree Credit Union.

1.         MINUTES

           Consideration was give to the minutes of the meeting held on 26 November 2003
           (copy previously circulated).


           That the minutes of the meeting held on 26 November 2003 be approved as a
           correct record.

           THE AGENDA

           On page A0003, Dave Berry reported that the letter to David Taylor MP had not
           yet been drafted but he would aim to do this before the end of the week.

           In response to a member query on feedback from the Witness Cocoon
           Roadshow, Dave Berry reported that it had proved successful in Greenhill. To
           date, 14 referrals had been made across the District. As this was a 6 month pilot
           scheme, alternative sources of funding were currently being investigated, by the
           Community Safety Officer.
     The Manager of Community Services reported on the implications of the budget.
     A budget of £1000 had been allocated for social inclusion work outside the
     Community Action Zones which was in addition to the CAZ working budget.
     With respect to benefit take-up work, £12,000 had been allocated over 2 years for
     the voluntary sector to carry out this work. It was suggested that this working
     party should look at the Service Level Agreement, and receive reports on
     outputs/achievements. The final budget decisions would be made at Council on
     26 February and the commissioning process would commence in April 2004.
     The Chairman welcomed the additional support for this work.

     On page A0005 a member asked if a progress report on the Priority Estate
     Project (PEP) was available yet. Dave Berry replied that he had met residents in
     the Greenhill ward to discuss ideas, but had some reservations as they appeared
     to be replicating work with respect to the rebuilding of the community church.
     PEP had been commissioned to do the work however there was some confusion
     regarding outcomes. He had raised these concerns with PEP and the Manager of
     Community Services would be meeting them to discuss further and would keep
     members informed. It was suggested that Nick Wigg from PEP be invited to the
     next meeting to give further explanation on the work to be carried out.


     That a representative from PEP be invited to give a progress report to the next


     Consideration was given to the report of the Manager of Community Services
     (copy previously circulated).

     Dave Berry outlined the major points of the report. He informed members that
     this would be his last meeting as he was leaving the Authority to work for the
     Citizens Advice Bureau. The Chairman thanked Mr Berry for all his hard work
     and stated that he would be a loss to the Authority. Another member thanked Mr
     Berry for the work carried out in her ward.

     (a) Financial Inclusion

     Dave Berry reported that the amalgamation of Money Tree Credit Union with
     Acorn Credit Union would enable a wider area to be covered.

     (b) Citizens Advice Bureau

     The pilot project with the PCT at Whitwick Health Centre had ceased due to lack
     of support. However a positive response from Ibstock Health Centre meant that
     the project would again be trialed in that area.
Due to lack of space in the current accommodation the CAB would possibly be
moving into the old registry office site on Ravenstone Road. An outreach session
was planned to continue at the library. In response to a member query regarding
disabled access at the new site, Dave Berry confirmed that the organisation would
respond to the needs of the client. Lesley Massey stressed the importance of
using a room at the library with no open access to ensure client privacy.

(c) Community Action Zones

Dave Berry reported that the participatory appraisal research had been completed
and a copy of the report was available. Problems highlighted were affordable
childcare and affordable transport to employment. The Chairman stated that the
Policy Review and Development Board had been looking at the issue of affordable
transport and Mrs Birtwistle confirmed that she would be discussing the issue
shortly with an officer from Leicestershire County Council. Funding for the
children’s centre was available for 2 years, however future funding remained

Dave Berry stated that the questions asked on the participatory appraisal research
were based on a successfully used model. Future funding for the participatory
appraisal post to continue would need to be investigated and this could be a role
for the new postholder. The Chairman stated that he felt this research was
invaluable with respect to the allocation of resources and suggested a summary of
the research be submitted to the Executive Board. Another member felt that the
research could form the basis of a short mid and long term plan to carry on with
the work.

Dave Berry stated that these developments could be taken through the
Community Action Zones however Lesley Massey expressed reservations
concerning employment as some people lacked basic skills. In response to this
Dave Berry stated that partnership working with Stephenson College took place
with respect to adult literacy. It was felt that Sure Start revenue could be used to
benefit this piece of work.

In response to a member query on the possibility of a third CAZ, Dave Berry
replied that there was no capacity with the existing staff to develop further zones
as staff were needed to work on the ground to provide support. A member asked
if there was any indication of a cut-off time for the existing Community Action
Zones. Dave Berry replied that if previous appointments had been successful,
Neville Stork would have been working elsewhere in the District. However
residents moving off the estate or going on to do other things ensured a
continuous turnover and the need to start the work over again. A member
commented on the interpretation of the regeneration of Ashby and Coalville town
centres and felt that priority should be given to social issues as well as the
physical environment.
      (d) Census Data

...   Dave Berry circulated a paper displaying the output area by ward and a map of
      the 50 most deprived census output areas (copies retained with the minutes).
      Dave Berry stated that data had been supplied on a ward basis and used
      indicators to identify the top 50 areas of poverty. He explained that the next stage
      would be to provide information by street and population of a particular area. The
      indicators identified pockets of deprivation that could previously have been missed
      and this information made it easier to target resources. The figures had been
      worked out as a percentage of household number or groups of people and was
      based on output areas. The rankings had been added together to attempt to iron
      out any anomalies in the best possible way. It was agreed that this was a useful
      piece of work and it would be interesting to see how this work fitted in with the
      Government IMD scores when they were published.

      Dave Berry stated that IT had agreed to produce maps to show the output areas
      by street although members cautioned that this information should be kept
      confidential and the flagging up of areas of deprivation to target resources be
      handled carefully.

      (e) Anti-Poverty Strategy

      Dave Berry circulated a copy of a summary of the draft Anti-Poverty Strategy
      (copy retained with the minutes). He suggested that the focus for the next Anti-
      Poverty Strategy should be community capacity building in community action
      zones and tackling financial exclusion. The next stage of the process was to
      develop up the draft anti-poverty strategy and he felt that work with the homeless
      and the Equalities Agenda should also be a high priority. He stated that there
      was a responsibility to the travelling community under the Equalities Agenda. A
      member raised concern that the BNP were targeting the North West
      Leicestershire area and that BNP leaflets had been circulating around the
      Greenhill Estate.

      With respect to consultation on the Anti-Poverty Strategy, no process had yet
      been agreed and it was felt that a leaflet could be a way of taking this forward. A
      consultation event with questionnaires would enable a broader picture to be
      gained regarding the issues on the target estates. The Council needed to respond
      to these issues which could be fed into the community strategy.

      In response to a member query on whether literacy and numeracy skills should be
      a priority, confirmation was given that Leicestershire County Council worked with
      travellers. Lesley Massey reported that the CVS had a Playbus which supported
      travellers and the project had been successful in encouraging 11 year olds to
      continue to senior school. The CVS also carried out work with the parents. A new
      Playbus with a training room would shortly be available.

      The Chairman praised the summary as an excellent piece of work and asked
      members to consider the next step.





          Lesley Massey reported that a seminar would be held on 15 March to look at
          racial incident reporting centres.

          The Chairman questioned the possibility of one or two members from the working
          party being invited to sit on the interview panel for the Social Inclusion Officer.
          The Manager of Community Services was of the opinion this was not permitted
          under the new Code of Conduct and was not current policy, but agreed to clarify
          the situation.

The meeting terminated at 8.02 pm.