Leicester Neighbourhood Watch launches pet campaign

By Kira Gibson

Neighbourhood Watch in Leicester has today launched a social media campaign for protecting pets.

The campaign is called ‘PROTECT YOUR POOCH’ and will run online from today (May 17) till May 30.

One of the images that accompany the pet campaign

It has been set up in response to the ever-growing worries of pet theft in Leicestershire.

The campaign aims to make pets “SECURE, IN SIGHT and SEARCHABLE” and to make pet theft a specific criminal offence.

Along with emails being sent regarding the campaign, people are asked to share posters and social media posts regarding the campaign to raise awareness and encourage others to sign a petition or contact their local MP.

On May 27 at 5pm there will be a dog theft webinar held by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne about the campaign and why it is needed.

The Sussex PCC conducted a survey of 124,729 people and of those surveyed, 22 per cent have either had a dog stolen or knew someone who had their dog stolen.

According to the Pet Reform campaign, only one per cent of all cases of dog theft in recent years have led to a prosecution.

The campaign looks to change the current restrictions on dog theft, as they are currently classed as ‘property’ under the Theft Act 1968.

To find out more about the campaign, please go to www.ourwatch.org.uk/protectyourpooch or click here to sign the petition.

Syston Fosse to appoint councillor in upcoming local elections

by Abigail Beresford

Syston Fosse is set to elect a councillor to represent the ward in the upcoming Leicestershire County Council election this week (May 6), with current councillor, James Poland, facing competition for the position.

With election day rapidly approaching, in a fight for the title of the county councillor for the Syston Fosse ward, candidates in the ward have been actively campaigning

Councillor James Poland was elected as the ward representative in May 2017, and hopes to maintain this position, despite facing competition from Labour Party representative Samanta Zubrute, and the Green Party representative, Laurie Needham.

Cllr Poland won by a majority for 67.6% in the previous election, with 1,716 votes supporting him, awarding him with the seat on the county council.

Cllr Poland has pledged to make Leicestershire more sustainable environmentally and financially, to ensure stability for jobs, and help the environment.

In alignment with the current issues that community currently face in regard to the pandemic, candidates have continued to show their support to residents, assuring them of the work they will be able to achieve to ensure stability.

Labour Party representative, Samanta Zubrute, has actively helped local communities throughout the course of the pandemic in alignment with her work with the GMB Union, providing support for young workers.

The GMB Union represents workers across the UK. Activist, Ms Zubrute continues to work alongside the union, working towards her pledges of supporting families that lack funding, and campaigning against social injustices.

The Green Party representative, Laurie Needham, is no stranger to the local electoral process.

Ms Needham participated in the previous local elections but was unsuccessful receiving 5.2% Ms Needham was elected to Charnwood Borough Council in May 2019, becoming an active community campaigner for Charnwood.

She also stood for the Charnwood seat in the 2019 General Election, but was unsuccessful.

After working on grass root campaigns to protect public services in the area, Ms Needham plans to continue her support for the community, pledging that she wants to see people get real representation in Parliament.

In hopes of being elected Ms Needham has stated that she would prioritise a Green New Deal, ensuring investment in the community, whilst also providing secure, well-paid jobs for residents, following the increase of unemployment throughout the duration of the pandemic.

Syston town fact file

Syston, located in Charnwood, in the North-East of Leicester, is an Anglo-Saxon originated town, with the name of the town deriving from Viking descent.

The town is believed to have come into existence during the nineth century, and still holds on to parts of its history, with many houses retaining their thatched roofs.

The Church of St Peter and St Paul is a landmark within Syston, with it being the most ancient building in the town, with remains of it that date 200 years after the Norman invasion.

The Syston Parish Council was established in 1894, later adopting the status of ‘Town’ council in 1987, due to its growing population.

During the twentieth century, the industry of boots and shoe production brought many people to Syston, looking for employment, alongside its easily accessible transport links.

Syston is also the location of the headquarters for Pukka Pies, employing the most people in the town, with 250 employees.

Braunstone county council election candidates 2021

By Kira Gibson

The area of Braunstone in Leicestershire has five candidates fighting to get a seat on the county council.

Running as an Independent, David Di Palma is a local from Braunstone.

Mr Di Palma intends to actively campaign for improvements towards road surfaces, environmental issues and class sizes. He also intends to continue campaigning against any forms of bullying and discrimination, with the saying “be kind always” attached to his campaigning.

The independent has served multiple councils over the last 10 years and says he has first-hand experience in financial pressures towards social care and supporting people services due to his disabilities ensuring that he needs support from a social worker.

The Conservative party representative for the seat is Nigel Grundy, who has been a councillor for the Pastures Ward as part of the Blaby District Council for more than three years.

Cllr Grundy is also now in his second term as the chairman of the Enderby Parish Council, and during his time there he has set up a monthly meeting in Enderby library to hear the thought and opinions of those who live there.

This decision was very successful and has been used as an example for excellent community engagement by the county council.

Councillor Amanda Hack is the Labour representative. She lives in Thorpe Astley and was the Braunstone Town Mayor between 2013-2014.

Cllr Hack has been a county councillor for four years after being elected in May 2017 for the Braunstone division and is aiming to keep her seat on the council by winning the election on May 6.

Mary Kapadia (Green Party) is a newcomer to the position with her current party but is enthusiastic about the role.

Previously, she had attempted to become a councillor in the 2019 elections for Fairestone in Blaby as a member of the Labour Party but has since switched parties. She was not elected in 2019.

The final candidate for the county council seats is the Liberal Democrat’s party member, Chris Merrill.

Cllr Merrill has been a councillor for Glen Parva Parish Council for several years. He is also the vice chairman of the Glen Hills Primary School Governors.

The area of Braunstone has got in total five candidates who will be fighting their best to get one of the only 55 seats in the county council elections on May 6, 2021.

Local residents encouraged to vote in North Evington by-election 2021

By Shantelle Gondo

Leicester City Council is encouraging its residents to have their say in the 2021 North Evington by-election.

Elections polling station by Government Digital Services

 Following last year’s postponed elections, the North Evington ward election will be taking place on Thursday, May 6.

The new voted councillor will take their place among the 54 city councillors who are involved within the local issues decisions, such as council tax rates, public transport, housing, education and more.

The nine candidates currently nominated are:

  • Aasiya Gulamohammed Bora representing the green party
  • Kumaran Bose representing the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
  • Andrea Burford representing the Communist Party of Britain
  • David John Haslett representing the For Britain Movement
  • Abdul Osman representing the Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Vandeyi Pandya representing the Labour party
  • Charnjit Singh who is Independent
  • Asit Sodha representing the Liberal Democrats
  • Raj Solanki representing the Reform UK.

When voting people are required to use the First-past-the post system, they should mark an ‘X’ in the box for their preferred candidate.

Residents are required to vote for only one candidate in the election.

Leicester City Council wants to ensure everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so, regardless of the pandemic.

If any residents need to self-isolate, they must not go to vote at a polling station. Instead, are able to arrange an emergency proxy vote (someone to vote on your behalf) up to 5pm on 6 May.

For more information on the North Evington by-elections and how to vote visit: https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/about-the-council/how-the-council-works/elections/election-2021-information or call : Phone 0116 454 2010

Leicestershire County Council elections 2021 – Burbage: All you need to know

By Thomas Carter

In political terms, the electoral division of Burbage in Leicestershire is the epitome of a ‘two-party contest’.

Based in the borough of Hinckley and Bosworth, the village is home to a small population of 14,568 residents (as of Census 2011 data), and currently the Burbage ward is represented on the Leicestershire County Council by Amanda Wright of the Conservative Party.

This has not, however, always been the case.

Throughout the 20th century, occupancy of the county council seat would alternate between the Liberal Democrats and current Conservative leadership, with a sustained period of Liberal dominance during the early 2000s.

The biggest change was observed during the election of 2017, where voters opted for the Conservatives, and the political scene has continued in this vein through to modern day. Although, council elections in Burbage are historically very close, with the most recent election being decided by just over 200 votes.

Taking into account past voting behaviour, it seems this year’s round of voting could unfold in a similar fashion.

In the upcoming election (taking place on Thursday, May 6), there are four candidates standing for a seat and looking to represent Burbage on the Leicestershire County Council.

First standing is Amanda Wright, the incumbent Leicestershire county councillor, who is seeking to win successive re-election for the Tories.

Throughout her time in local government, Cllr Wright has proven to be passionate about wanting more effective policing (on issues such as pension fraud), and finding better solutions to residents’ parking troubles in the area.

Another candidate, Barry Walker, is standing on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, and is a borough councillor for Sketchley and Stretton.

During his tenure, Cllr Walker has worked to improve the village’s environmental aspects and make the community a safer place to live, campaigning to reduce litter in public areas as well as implementing more speed cameras across Burbage. 

The remaining two candidates are Robert Martin (Labour) and Roger Hill (Social Democrat Party). 

Unfortunately, neither of the candidates have a discernible or active online presence (e.g. website, social media etc.) and therefore contact attempts regarding their campaigns have been unsuccessful.

While there are several issues that will play a factor in the upcoming election, the Burbage Neighbourhood Plan is undoubtedly at the forefront of political conversation. 

According to the Burbage Parish Council website, the plan aims to ‘protect, create and enhance open spaces and the historic elements of the village by encouraging sympathetic and sustainable designs in any future housing developments’. 

These proposals for ‘more sustainable living’ would ensure the plan’s requirements are met until 2026 (at the earliest), therefore in addition to voting for councillors, residents of Burbage will be involved in a referendum on whether this plan goes ahead.

Furthermore, other issues that look set to be on the agenda of the electorate include a toughening of policing with regard to recent increases of drug use/dealing in the area, along with the need to tackle growing litter problems.

With a history of close results and patterns of swing voting, the election on May 6 in Burbage could prove to be a difficult conclusion to draw for one of Leicestershire’s oldest communities.