Nothing new under the sun

15th March, 2012

221010212125--Jubilee Square

So we are to have a £4m square at the top of the High Street. To replace a strategically important park and ride site that was completed two years ago at a cost of £1.8m.

I think its a good idea to create a public square ( St Peter’s Sq in Highcross, and Orton Square are two recent examples), and its a great idea to commemorate the Queen’s visit. But why this Square here? Well we learn from the Leicester Mercury that it was an idea that the mayor had 20 years ago and it didn’t happen. Why didn’t it get implemented 20 years ago? If you study the reports at the time you can find out.

Here are some of the serious questions that have been put to me as chair of the scrutiny select committee.

  • Why are we now proposing to spend £4m on a square when we have just spent a fortune (£1.8m) on making it a site for the park and ride?
  • Will it undermine the park and ride scheme? Park and ride was located here to attract people to use it. Surely park and ride has more to do with the long term needs of the city, reducing congestion and carbon emissions, than a square?
  • No consultation with anyone. When will we be consulted?
  • Wouldn’t it be better to spend this money on the market? Get rid of the indoor market and re-name that ‘Jubilee Square’
  • Was it in the Labour manifesto?
  • How can we justify such a large amount of money at this time? can we spend it to create jobs instead?
  • where is the park and ride going to go and how much will that cost?
  • How many parking spaces will be lost and how much income to the council?

and some not so serious ones:

  • Do you think this is a vanity project?
  • Will the Queen come back to open it?
  • Do you think its too windy there for a public square?

When it is discussed I will try and get answers to these questions.

It’s a nice thing to have a new square, however given that the total cost could be well over £6m, including the replacement of the park and ride site,  we will need to consider it’s merits against other priorities.

ps

When clearing out some old papers the other day I came across this: 101Labour Pledges for Leicester produced 12 years ago, and I have reproduced a few pages of it. Nothing new under the sun, well minus one pledge, and nothing wrong with recycling good ideas?

Update

Leicester Mercury covers this scrutiny story today, see here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Kulgan of Crydee

    5th May, 2012

    The City Mayor has said “This is why I’m determined to make sure this goes ahead.” (http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/pound-4m-royal-square-plan-Leicester-damage/story-15932523-detail/story.html 4th Sentence from last) so why is he going ahead with the consultation? Anyone who heard him on BBC Leicester phone in show with Jim Davis knows this is going to happen.

    I am a Royalist having served my Queen for 22 years in the Army. I think that in these austere times, £4m of taxpayers’ money on Jubilee Square is the wrong thing to do, especially compounding it by wasting £1.8m of the previous revamp.

    This is one of Sir Peter’s pet projects and I think he will force it through riding roughshod over any objections.

    As for the scrutiny story in the LM recently, it smacks of Mayoral Cronyism by putting his own Yes Man in as the leader of the Committee. It is bad for Leicester and even worse, bad for democracy.

    After a year, Sir Peter says “You don’t hear much from those who opposed the idea of having an elected mayor,” (http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/Leicester-s-mayor-Sir-Peter-Soulsby-reflects-year/story-16001011-detail/story.html Sentence under the photo). Perhaps he or his staff should read the comments on the Leicester Mercury website under any mayoral stories. He has shown himself to be arrogant and I hate to use a Labour soundbite, Out of Touch.

    The whole issue of elected City Mayor of Leicester is beyond party politics, it is about something far more important and simple. It is about democracy.

  2. Olga F. Honea

    17th April, 2012

    I always appreciate a great article or piece of writing. Thanks for the contribution.

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