Over 46 residents, two police officers and 13 councillors were present.
Adjournment for Public
The chairman asked if all members of the public present were there because of the same item and asked for a spokesperson, however, the public didn’t want just one as many had different things to say, so four separate people initially spoke. 1st was Mr Pat Wright who said on behalf of responsible dog owners who walk their dogs and clean up after them, asked that a letter should have been sent out to all dog owners, at which point he received a round of applause. He then referred back to when the original request, which was for a fence to be placed around the play area at Deville park for the safety of children using that aspect of the park, not for a ban on dog walkers exercising their dogs off their leads. Another spokesperson said, as a responsible dog owner, all the people who exercise their dogs off of the lead would like to know what expert advice the council took about not allowing dogs to run free and socialise with other dogs. They felt that the many were being punished for the few. A second lady, who is a dog warden, 6 years, said that dogs need to run free as without it, it can cause more problems. She went on to say that there is a law which relates to dangerous dogs but that the council shouldn’t penalise every dog owner for acting responsible. A third lady asked “How can you, the council, pass something without consulting all residents.” The fourth spokesperson asked “How the council was going to enforce the ban and who would enforce it?”
The Chairman answered by stating that it is a by-law that dogs need to be kept on a leash and he read the bylaw which stated that a dog should a) be under control, b) on a leash. These were passed in 1979. There followed some heated discussion. One gentleman challenged the council to take him to task and said he would continue to exercise his dog off lead. Someone in the public asked who in the council were dog owners and exercised them off the lead, and six including the chairman put their hand up which caused a good deal of laughter!
Cllr. C. Dolan stated that the people who voted for the ban were no longer on the council and that she voted against it. However, she has funding for a dog park, just needs land. One spokesperson replied by saying that it was a good idea, but it would not help elderly or people who don’t drive if it wasn’t in Syston near their homes. Cllr. M. Carnal also said he voted against it and agreed that the original request was for fencing around the play area, but that the majority voted for it. He proposed it should go back to the amenities committee and be discussed again.
Cllr. P. Henry said that the by-laws are out of date and need bringing up to date. He also raised concerns that it piggy backed on another item and also that the wording was not as agreed at the meeting or in accordance, and that the council needs to do it correctly. He continued to say that the Health & Safety issue should be sorted out and agreed that the play area on Deville Park should be fenced off for the general safety of children in that area. Cllr. K Pacey said that the wording was not as agreed and that the CCTV does not relate to dog walkers, and said that residents shouldn’t feel they are being watched. After further debate. Cllr. T Barkley proposed that it should go back to amenities, this was agreed. Finally, Cllr R Jones suggested a consultation by email. The Chairman then apologised on behalf of the council for any distress caused and had heard what the residents have said and confirmed that it would be discussed at the next amenities committee meeting.
One lady told STN that education was needed to help children become used to dogs. She thought that taking a friendly calm dog into school could help children be aware of dogs and not fear them. Dogs are used in some hospitals to help children recover from severe illnesses.
This was read by Cllr, C. Dolan.
Apologies were received from three councillors, two committee chairs and one vice chair and one County Councillor.
No Declarations of Interest were given.
The minutes were approved and agreed, although it was difficult to find vice chairs for two committees due absence of either the full council or the actual meeting being ratified, eventually this was achieved.
Chairman’s Announcements and Communications
Communication received the result from the East Midlands in Bloom where the town received a Silver Award. They had also awarded a special judges award to the children at the Merton School, see lead article on home page for November 2013. The Chairman asked for a letter of congratulations to be sent to the Syston in Bloom committee and council staff for this year’s entry. He added that if they need help for next year they just need to ask.
At this point ex-councillor Mrs J Branston asked if she could speak, this was allowed by the chairman and she asked if the council could do something about the state of the pavement on Melton Rd infront of the Co-op where slabs are uneven. Also on the high st, outside the Dry Cleaners and Mind Charity shop, there are some tiles that also need attention. She asked if the councillors still take a walk around the town in order to assess the state of pavements and pass onto the CC. This used to happen once a year. The Chairman asked the acting Town Manager to write to CC.
PC Carly Hall and PSCO Jo Freeman were in attendance, and Carly took the councillors through the report. The three major incidents that had occurred in Syston all had suspects charged. The team are working with the Impact team around the parks to help reduce ASB. She was pleased to report that there had been no reported incident during the fair which was good. No expected incidents relating to the Circus. The youth café was to go to a public consultation; hoped Cllr. N. Gee would keep the council informed as to the dates.
Cllr.M.Carnal referred to a recent death that was announced on social media as murder before any official police report. PC Hall was unable to comment. Stn asked permission to reply and informed the councillor that the Leicester mercury had published a comment from the police on the incident in both Monday and Tuesdays publications, which disproved comments made by social media site users. Another question asked related to if the police could help the charity shops in Syston in how to prevent theft of goods. PC hall said they would call into all charity shops as requested.
Final question came from Cllr K Pacey who asked if they could help in providing evidence of ASB on Memorial park to help with getting CCTV installed there. PC Hall said they would go back and check.
He also asked if the CCTV on Deville Park had helped decrease the problems there to which she replied yes.
Signage & Language used on signs – referred back to amenities.
Name Badges – This was approved.
New Cemetery Drawing – Council Asked Cllr H Screaton to re-draw his plan due to an error, Cllr Screaton agreed.
Issues in local shops: Dealt with during police report.
New Cost Code for Donations:
The council agreed to allocate £2,000 from the general reserve to a new cost code for donations.
County/Borough Councillors Reports
Cllr T Barkley reported from Charnwood BC that in they annual report on crime there had been a fall of 27% and Antisocial behaviour had dropped by 20%. He then went onto say that £20m was being invested into housing stock. After the Olympics last year, the legacy lives on with over 3,500 young people involved in sports. Finally, he spoke about the new online aspects, first a website set up by the borough council for landlords to advertise free any properties vacant to help reduce the number of homeless in the borough. Then the CBC facebook page. His last piece of information related to a staff member who had just reach 44 years service.
Cllr. E Vardy talked about the neighbourhood plan how the local community can have an influence on planning in the area with regard to shops/offices etc. They could identify and protect green spaces. The community can take the lead with the Strategic plan, then it would have to be looked at when planners are proposing developments. He thought it was a way of making Syston better for its residents. He said he would circulate to all councillors with a view of someone coming from the Borough to talk to the council. All councillors agreed. He finished by saying that there needed to be one Town Councillor who would lead it. At this point Cllr K Pacey agreed and said it needed a Town Council who was prepared to commit to the role.
Cllr. K. Pacey reported that licensing do look at individual cases and gave a recent one in Birstall.
He then spoke about the Highways proposal to change the mini round-about at the top of High street from a single to a double mini round-about at a cost of up to £200,000, which had not been brought to the town council. He added that although some improvements were required, but not what is proposed. When he contacted them, they said there had been a public consultation and notification to local press, not the Stn though
He asked if the acting town manager could to write to highways and ask them to come to the council and explain their reasoning for their proposal.
He went on to talk about the new licensing for scrap metal dealers in October. Student liaison is widening out to include landlords to help improve rented accommodation.
Cllr S Hampson reported on CC issue, one relating to the highways proposal mentioned above and said he didn’t agree with it and asked council for agreement to write to Highways stating that they didn’t want it.
He reported that the new 111 number for Health services was now operational in Leicestershire. A new A & E for the Leicester Royal which will mean taking away some wards so local community hospitals will have to accommodate.