Syston Ridgeway Cllr Stephen Hampson

The editor of Syston Town News has given me the opportunity to contribute to this popular newspaper on a more regular basis, I plan to keep you up to date on the successes and pressures I face on your behalf at borough and county level.
So here goes …
Leicestershire County Council2014 marks my 15th year in local Government. For clarification, I thought it useful to explain the areas in Leicestershire that I represent. They extend along the Eastern side of Melton Road from Millers Close, Barkby Road, the Avenues to Queniborough, Rearsby and expands as far as Barkby and South Croxton.
Like all other councils, the County Council is in the unenviable position of having to determine ways of reducing expenditure now and in future years, in a way that will have the least impact on the community it serves. Personally, I find this quite disheartening, making economies was not my motivation for becoming a councillor, but getting more for less frequently tops the agenda at most of the meetings I attend on your behalf. So, although depressing reading it may make, I will attempt to give you an overview of how things stand currently.
Leicestershire County Council is forced to re-balance its strategy and operations, it is working meticulously to find in excess of £110m savings during the next five years. The County Council is fortunate to have members with excellent expertise in these areas, disappointingly, as far as cuts in expenditure are concerned, I’m afraid my hands are tied. However, you have my utmost assurance that I will manage and implement these inevitable cuts in as painless a way as possible.
Residents will be aware that Leicestershire is one of the most excellent County Councils in the country in terms of managing its economies, the flipside of this, is that it appears the more we prove our ability to deliver the economies that Government instructs, the greater the hits we face in the future. However in spite of facing an opposition that wants to see us releasing the reigns of stringent financial control, I am pleased to report that due to the skill of the financial masters at this authority, we do seem to be quite adept at finding more efficient ways of working that do not impair the service levels provided from County Hall.
Whatever your social need, skilled officers are striving to ensure that all caring services are being maintained at the high standard they have always been. Instead, the services where you may notice the impact of cuts, will be for example, less frequency of grass cutting, dimmer street lighting, ie areas that are important, but are able to take a hit without creating too much of a negative impact on the quality of life in our communities.
If you feel that you are being adversely affected by the reduced budget, I strongly urge you to contact me; I am available at all times to listen to your concerns and I need to know if there are any Government imposed cutbacks that are making life difficult for anyone in my constituency. It is my duty to listen to and advise you and I take this responsibility seriously.
Charnwood Borough CouncilLife on the Borough Council has the same challenges as County, however although I am proud to be able to boast of having four consecutive years of NO COUNCIL TAX increases; your Borough Council has had to provide judicious financial management in order to achieve these goals. I can confirm that, in spite of maintaining a static council tax level for four years, all your services have been maintained and have in several instances improved. So what have we achieved?
Investment in CCTV cameras has contributed to an estimated 19% cut in crime. I am confident that I will be able to continue to report improved reductions in crime over the next year. The current Government recognises the excellent work as well as the challenges our Police Forces up and down the country face and have been committed in supporting them in their battle against crime in our neighbourhoods.
Your Borough Council does not receive many plaudits of its successes, but YOU have demonstrated your approval on one of the most important services that Charnwood supplies, collection of your waste. Week after week, the borough finds itself in the top stratum of councils for its waste and recycling collection service.
The good news does not stop there, Charnwood Council has yet again, increased its number of Council-let properties, which is most important when it is so difficult for people to get on the first step of the private housing ladder. Our choice-based lettings service is now available via the internet, as well as in the more traditional method. The Council has strived to ensure that there are no homeless people in its community and works hard to prioritise for families in most need.
Council continues to develop the Borough and has helped to provide increased employment opportunities in the area. For example, Loughborough Science Park is enjoying massive investment from Borough and County sources, this is having a hugely positive impact on employment levels. Your Borough Council has committed £150k in Discretionary Funding for Rural Broadband, which is now spreading out across the region and I hope you are now or soon will be in a position to take advantage of a much improved broadband service; this will also ensure that the most remote and potentially vulnerable people have access to an internet facility.
Further good news I can report is that our parks and green spaces across the Borough have received Green Flag status yet again for the fourth year in a row. I would like to congratulate our grounds staff across the borough who work tirelessly in all weathers to provide beautifully maintained parks for our communities to enjoy.
Loughborough Market has received £150k investment and is fast becoming a shopping destination of choice for many more people around the county. I strongly recommend you make a trip to Loughborough in the near future and discover for yourself all of the improvements that have been made to our ‘Capital’ in recent years. Travel into the town networks have improved, a larger area of the shopping centre is now pedestrianised and the diverse range of shops is expanding all of the time.
Whilst we celebrate our successes from the rooftops, we also recognise the more vulnerable people in our community and have committed £15k in Discretionary Funds in the Pathways to Independence service which assists young people in care, to make positive choices about their lives and supports them in their journey towards independence.
SystonAs Chairman of Syston Town Council, I along with the other 19 councillors continue to work hard to bring improvements to what is seen by many as a town ‘On the Up’. I would like to summarise these here, as they feature in the Spotlight on page 30 and 31 of this issue. The refurbishment of the Archdale Street Playground is due to be completed by November with an officially opening planned for Saturday 29th November. The playground will join the group of already established and improved Central and Deville parks. The newly opened adult Exercise Equipment located in Central Park, which was the brainwave of the Vice Chairman of Syston Town Council, Cllr Sue Gerrard.
As you know, our much needed new cemetery is now in development and will accommodate traditional burials, natural burials and the scattering of ashes. We must count ourselves very fortunate in being able to secure this facility as there is a national shortage of burial areas for many rural villages in the country. For the more sporting minded your Town Council plans to be able to deliver a newly refurbished Pavilion at Necton Street within the next couple of years. Please see Spotlight to have your say!
Our existing Pavilion is clearly not the smartest building in our town, but again funds provided by recent developers in Syston will ensure that opportunities for improvements are wholly utilised in the town.
Finally, I know that I cannot deny more cuts await us, but a lot of great things are happening in Syston which I hope you will take advantage of.
However, never forget that in spite of all the exciting things happening, anybody who has real grievance or just wants to drop by and chat about Syston in general; please come along to our monthly surgeries that are held in the Community Centre the first Saturday of every month from 10.00am onwards. In attendance at the surgeries are:
Cllrs Tom Barkley and Eric Vardy for Syston West. Cllr Ken Pacey and myself for Syston East.Cllr Dave Houseman who is the County Councillor for Syston Fosse which includes the villages of East Goscote, Thrussington and Seagrave from a County Council standpoint.
I hope to deliver regular news updates every other month or so but if you prefer to write to me rather than come and see me my details are listed below:
Cllr Steve Hampson
Deputy leader Charnwood Borough Council
County Councillor Syston Ridgeway Division
Tel: 0116 260 63562 Mobile 07739 116841
email [email protected]