With the New Year, the Forum hopes to be able to begin activities again.
A grant has been received to enable the Forum to purchase a pollution monitor from EarthSense, and members will begin monitoring pollution levels in the area, particularly particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.
The Conservation and Heritage (C&H) and Housing and Planning (H&P) working groups will continue their work.
Like many organisations, Knighton Neighbourhood Forum has been very limited in its activities in 2020. The Housing and Planning (H&P) and Conservation and Heritage (C&H) working groups met at the start of the year. The C&H working group visited the grounds of Portland House (Leicester High School for Girls) and walked round the Wimborne Road area of Knighton.
The H&P working group conducted a survey of properties that are split into multiple addresses and carried out a pilot parking survey in two streets in South Knighton with heavy parking.
Then COVID-19 struck, the country was locked down and the Form stopped all meetings. The Annual General Meeting was postponed with the agreement of members and will be held when it is possible to meet again face-to-face.
During this period, the City Council launched a consultation on the City Local Plan (see more on the Local Plan page), and the Steering Group made a response to the consultation.
Towards the end of the year, both the H&P and C&H working groups met by Zoom in order to take stock and to try to make progress on completing the policy documents for those areas, including tying up the evidence to the policies.
The Forum made an application to buy a pollution monitor from EarthSense a local spin-off company from Leicester University.
A meeting on Flooding was held in February, with Philip Thompson of Leicester City Council speaking about the City’s Flood Risk Management Plan.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on 29th May, and Hannah Wakley of Leicester Friends of the Earth (FoE) spoke about FoE’s Healthy Air Manifesto for Leicester and issues of pollution in the City. A new Chair and some new members were elected for the Steering Group.
In November, Lord Willy Bach – Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester and Leicestershire – spoke at a public meeting and discussed policing, crime prevention and community safety.
The Conservation and Heritage (C&H) working group was launched in January and met through the year to develop policies on the protection and preservation of Knighton’s built heritage. This work included walks round various parts of the area to ensure that the members of the working group were familiar with the whole area, and to identify areas or individual properties that might require some measure of protection. The working group also met with one of the City Council’s Conservation Officers to talk about the work being done on the Character Appraisal and Review of the Knighton Village Conservation Area.
The Housing and Planning (H&P) working group met five times in 2019, developing policies on housing need, housing mix, design, houses in multiple occupation and sub-divided properties, development on gardens and specific policies for sites that were likely to be developed.
The Annual General Meeting was on Thursday 15th February 2018 at 7.30 pm at the Knighton Parish Centre. The subject of the talk was How will the electrification of heat and transport affect the design of future cities? with Professor Rick Greenough of the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development at De Montfort University.
The Housing and Planning (H&P) working group was launched in June 2018 to look at general issues around housing and panning in the area. The launch meeting was well attended and discussed a range of issues brought to the meeting by members, including the issue of flooding on Carisbrooke Road, houses in multiple occupation in the north of the area bordering on Clarendon Park, the potential redevelopment of the Mary Gee Houses site and other development by Leicester University, Welford Road Playing Fields,the housing mix in the area, affordable housing, subdivision of houses, living above shops, backland development and design of houses. With the support of our planning consultant, the working group began the process of developing policies and met again in July, August and November.
Other public meetings were held during the year on Cycling with Andy Salkeld, Cycling Coordinator for Leicester City Council in September and on Conservation and Heritage in Knighton and Stoneygate with Nick Knight and David Oldershaw of Stoneygate Conservation Area Society in November.
The Open Spaces, Sports and Leisure (OSSL) Working Group started meeting in January and the AGM took place on 28th February. At the AGM the existing Committee was re-elected with the addition of Matt Stevenson as Treasurer. There was a talk on Conserving Knighton’s Heritage by Justin Webber, Senior Building Conservation Officer, Leicester City Council
During 2017, the Transport and OSSL Working Groups continued to meet. A meeting was held to launch a working group on the Local Economy, but no members attended, so this was not taken forward. In the late summer, the City Council launched a consultation on aspects of the Local Plan for Leicester, and the Forum reviewed the documents, held a public meeting on the subject and responded to the consultation.
A baseline report on Knighton was prepared using census and other data, and was launched at a meeting in November, at which members discussed how the information in the baseline report would inform policies for the Neighbourhood Plan.
A launch meeting was held on 26th January, addressed by Sir Peter Soulsby, the City Mayor. Around 80 people gathered to hear Sir Peter support the development of Neighbourhood Forums in Leicester and welcome the launch of Knighton Neighbourhood Forum. A Steering Group was elected at the meeting.
In February and March, three meetings were held at schools in different parts of Knighton to give people across the area a chance to discuss topics of interest to them.
A workshop on Writing Effective Policy was held on 5th April 2016, and the Steering Group met shortly afterwards to begin the process of identifying potential themes for consultation.
The City Council began a consultation on the designation of the Forum in May 2016, which finished on 4th July 2016. We finally heard that the formal designation of the Forum had been approved in September.
Fabian Best and Rachael Mkanza of the City Council spoke about the relationship between the Neighbourhood Plan and the City’s Local Plan at the September meeting. Since then we have responded to a consultation on the Scoping Document for the Local Plan.
The Transport Working Group was launched in October to explore Transport policies for the Neighbourhood Plan.
An initial meeting was held at St Guthlac’s Church on 20th January 2015, chaired by Councillor Lynn Moore. This was attended by about 30 people, including all three councillors, and there was a majority of those present who felt that the possibility of developing a Neighbourhood Plan should be explored. A small working group was formed to find out more and report back. The report-back meeting was subsequently set for 24th March 2015.
The working group met a number of times, considered the area for the Neighbourhood Plan and organised a meeting on 24th March 2015 at Knighton Parish Centre, which was publicised by posters in shops, public buildings, places of worship, schools and on lamp-posts in the Knighton area, as well as to those who had attended the January meeting.
The meeting on 24th March 2015 was attended by 47 people. Members of the working group reported back on what they had found out about Neighbourhood Planning and how it works, including an example from Exeter. There was considerable discussion at the meeting about the area, and strong feelings that it should include the catchment area for the Overdale Schools and that it should include the area of West Knighton to the west of Welford Road. It was agreed to go ahead with the formation of a Neighbourhood Forum, and enough people signed up to be members of the Forum to meet the requirement of 21 people who live, work and are councillors in the area.
A meeting of the group to create the Neighbourhood Forum was held on 20th May 2015, and a revised area was discussed. After some discussion, the area was accepted by the meeting with no objections. This area was sent to Leicester City Council Planning Department as the proposed designated area and was the subject of the consultation starting on 1st September 2015.
A subsequent meeting was held on 23rd June 2015 at which the draft constitution was discussed. Members of the group creating the Forum attended the Overdale Schools’ Fete on 27th June 2015 to publicise the emergent forum to a wider audience.
A meeting on 25th August approved the constitution. The group had a stall at Knighton Park Fun Day on 6th September to raise funds and to talk to as many people as possible about the idea of creating a Neighbourhood Plan.
The City Council held a consultation on the Neighbourhood Area in September and October. The consultation resulted in some minor changes to the boundary of the area as a result of comments in the consultation. The agreed area was approved at the meeting on 24th November 2015, at which arrangements for the election of officers and steering committee were also discussed.
In December 2015 the Forum applied to the City Council for designation as the Neighbourhood Forum for the approved designated area.
The idea of creating a Neighbourhood Plan for Knighton arose from a discussion at the Knighton Ward Community Meeting on 15th December 2014.
Knighton Neighbourhood Forum has received funding from Leicester City Council through the Ward Community Budget and from Locality through the national scheme to support the development of Neighbourhood Planning.