Agenda item

Leader of the Council's Position Statement

The key item of business on the agenda tonight relates to a significant investment opportunity at MIRA Technology Park, which was discussed in detail at Scrutiny last night.


I have deliberately focussed this statement on a few key items as there is limited business on the agenda tonight.


Queen’s Speech

There were a number of key measures recently announced in the Queen’s Speech including planning, jobs, health, the environment, climate change and care reforms. I will ask officers to review the opportunities and implications for the Council on the emerging legislation on these proposals. I see key opportunities for the Council playing its part in leading locally on jobs and skills via its work through our local Employment and Skills Partnership, supporting the local health and wellbeing offer to our communities coordinating this via our local Health & Wellbeing Partnership and influencing change on climate change and environmental initiatives.


One of my biggest immediate concerns are the planning reforms. We have already seen unprecedented relaxations to permitted development rights. The proposals outlined in the Planning Bill plan to scrap S106 agreements in place of a national levy; introduce stripped back local plans to allow broad areas across our districts to be developed with little control by us; impose mandatory, centrally set housing targets, and to cap it all introduce a fast track system for so called ‘beautiful’ buildings!


These changes are all apparently in the name of increasing housing delivery and meeting the Government’s magic 300,000 a year new homes targets. We all know where the problem lies and it is not with our current system; its developers who get permission and are simply not delivering. The LGA has recently published analysis that just over 2.78 million new homes have been given the go-ahead by councils since 2010, but only 58% - just under 1.63million have been built. This means more than 1.1m homes that have been granted planning permission over the past 10 years in England still have not been built.


Safer Streets Bid

I am pleased to confirm that our community Safety Partnership, in conjunction with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, have secured £108,000 of Home Office Safer Streets Funding for the centre of Hinckley. This will focus on acquisitive crime with the four crime types being domestic violence, vehicle crime, theft from person and robbery. It will enable a range of initiatives including the installation of eight new CCTV cameras, two new ANPR cameras and support the radio link scheme in partnership with Hinckley BID. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Executive Lead, Michael Mullaney, and our officers for their work on this bid and in supporting our joint Community Safety Partnership with Blaby.


HBBC Local Plan

I can announce that the Council will be launching its consultation of its new Local Plan by the end of the month. The Plan will set out the vision and spatial planning strategy for the borough which will provide the framework for the future development of new homes and employment opportunities for the area and how we plan to safeguard the environment.


Business Support

I am pleased to confirm the Council has awarded over £33.5m of Covid grant support to over 6,000 local businesses. We continue to make support payments via the Assisted Recovery and Restart Grants for local businesses and new discretionary scheme, targeted at cultural and community based businesses and organisations who have been impacted by the pandemic and to support them in recovery, which were launched in May.


COVID Memorial

I have agreed with officers that we will advance plans for a COVID Memorial in Hinckley to remember all those in our community that have been affected by the pandemic. The detailed designs are being worked up and will be shared in due course.


Levelling Up Fund Bid

I am delighted to confirm we have submitted a bid for up to £20m for the development of a state of the art national Science and Conservation Centre at Twycross Zoo. This will support new jobs and investment and will bring wide ranging benefits for research, education and tourism in the area, which is to be welcomed. We have the support of our local MP and other key stakeholders. If successful the scheme will commence in 2022 and be complete by March 2024.


Sport in Desford

I’m delighted to announce that on Wednesday 16 June, Sport in Desford (SiD) was announced as the winner of the national Decentralised Energy Awards 2020/21 in the Operational Projects category.


This was achieved against the competition of major projects from Centrica Business Solutions and an NPower 7MW solar Farm with 4MW battery in a West Sussex landfill site. This is an amazing achievement for a small community sports organisation up against national energy providers.


Over the past 12 years SiD has replaced Propane boilers with modern condensing natural gas boilers, double insulated throughout the clubhouse building, deployed 176 solar panels on every available roof (44KWp) and installed LED lighting in all major areas. In addition we have installed 6 Tesla Powerwall batteries (81KWh) to save daytime solar generation to power floodlights in the evenings and finally installed a double 22KW Electric Vehicle Charging Station on the front car park for public use. As a result SiD is a net generator of electricity on an annual basis.


This is a great example of what can be achieved to support our local climate change ambitions for the borough.



Stuart Bray

Leader of the Council

22 June 2021


In his position statement, the Leader of the Council referred to:


·         The Queen’s speech

·         Safer Streets bid

·         The Local Plan

·         Business support grants

·         Plans for a covid memorial

·         The levelling up fund bid

·         Sport in Desford having won the national Decentralised Energy Awards 2020/21.