I am currently Chair of the Children Young People and Schools Scrutiny Commission  of the Council. Where I have responsibility for leading a team of councillors in holding the Elected Mayor and the council to account as well as developing policy in this area.

I am also a member of the Adults Scrutiny Commission.

Over the last few years as Leader of the council I led a team that has delivered at the last count over 200 significant new achievements, as well as seeking to improve day to day services.  Just a few of these are shown below:
  • rebuilding schools, through BSF investment of £350million and rising educational standards
  • setting up the regeneration company to bring investment and 8000 jobs
  • City Clean Up Team making our city cleaner all year round
  • LCB Depot the first piece in the cultural quarter bringing back into use the old bus garage creating workspaces for creative businesses and jobs
  • CURVE our flagship performing arts venue
  • Extended summer play schemes and free swimming) for children
  • Phoenix Square our state of the art new cinema
  • Park and Ride at Enderby and soon at Birstall
  • City Wardens, in every ward helping to tackle local grumbles and making people feel safer
  • Highcross  £350 million retail investment and 2000 new jobs
  • Community meetings with £15,000 to spend by local people
  • Council house improvements, over £100million invested in new doors windows, bathrooms, kitchens, and boilers.
  • Extra Care housing, at Danbury gardens, looking after the needs of our vulnerable citizens
  • £11million investment in Football facilities for young people

we published a list of our first 100 achievements as a Labour Group in 2009.

Children and Schools

Ross opening Taylor Road School Thanks to the work we have all done standards in our schools are now rising, but we still have a long way to go. I set up the first education partnership board and led the BSF bid to rebuild all our secondary schools and these have played an important part in our rising standards. We have delivered new or improved primary schools including: Taylor Rd, Humberstone Junior and infants, Queensmead, Braunstone Community Primary. And secondary schools at Soar Valley, Rushey Mead, Judgemeadow, Beaumont Leys, and Fullhurst. We have improved play provision, we safeguarded the Adventure Playgrounds. Increased opening hours of Libraries, brought a new library to New Parks. Under my leadership the council opened many Sure Start Centres supporting families and children.

Vernon Coaker Schools Minister Opening Beaumont Leys school

It was a great day when the Schools Minister opened our new School in Beaumont Leys. Thanks to all the hard work of everyone involved the school opened on time  and on budget. I spent time talking with the young people and they were all delighted with their new school and were looking forward to their time there.

Looking after our Environment

I sought to build on Leicester’s environmental track record and in 2000 I was invited to speak on behalf of UK local government at the United Nations on Climate change. I represented the City at the World Summit on Climate Change in Johannesburg in 2002. And was then invited by the ANC to advise the City of Cape Town on climate change issues in 2005. I have also advised the sustainable Development Commission chaired by Jonathan Porrit and was specialist adviser to the Byker housing renewal scheme in Newcastle. I represented the council in Toronto, Brussels, Rome, and Norway.

Helped to introduce wind turbines to schools, the new Ball Mill recycling scheme, investment in our allotments, initiated the planting of 10,000 trees in the city, maintained the investment in new doors, windows and boilers for all council houses. Delivered the ‘Hot lofts’ scheme Insulation for lofts across the city. Promoted improved public transport with two new Park & Ride schemes at Enderby and Birstall. I supported the investment in allotments.

 

 

Supporting Communities

I took action and stopped 6 streets of houses from being demolished in Braunstone and worked in partnership with EMH to rebuild and renew them.
Created City Wardens to make our streets safer and cleaner. Set up Community meetings with £15000 each to spend by local people.


I Supported community centres with increased funding. The Emerald Centre shown here being visited by the Irish Ambassador was one.  I helped set up the Leicester Multicultural Advisory Group, engaging the editor of the local paper to be its first Chair. This informal network of faith groups, the Council, the media and the police has achieved much to protect and promote constructive work between different races and faiths in the city. Adviser to Reading Council on community Cohesion issues. Gave the first address at the new Hanukkah celebrations in the Town Hall, helped with parking provision at the central Mosque and represented the council on a mission to India on community cohesion and closer working between law enforcement agencies tracing abducted children.

I supported the development of the Extra Care housing project at Danbury Gardens to provide support for elderly people, the Pensioners Passport giving access to services across the city. Under my leadership the council has helped to provide new health centres across the city.

Community Cohesion is something that Leicester is renowned for, But we must not take good community relations for granted. We need to understand what makes us different so that we can recognise what it is we have in common. We must work at this so that our city remains a peaceful and welcoming place that we can all call home.

I was responsible for introducing Community Meetings in 2007 which have resulted in hundreds of small initiatives put forward by local people in every corner of the city. I am proud of the part I played in obtaining the £50million for Braunstone New Deal.

Bringing Jobs and Investment

In 2001 I founded and was a director of the Leicester Regeneration Company which under my guidance pioneered the first regeneration Masterplan for the city. I led its development into Prospect Leicester-shire a unique and successful partnership between the city and county. In turn leading to the £350million Highcross retail development, £60 million CURVE, £21 Million Phoenix Square, the Science Park, the improvements to New Walk, and the pedestrianisation of High St. All this has created over 2000 much needed jobs and new businesses have been attracted to Leicester. Working with colleagues I helped to commission the work to redevelop the waterside as part of the regeneration of the city.


I supported the setting up of Multi access centres, by Cllr Patrick Kitterick,  to help unemployed people back into work with the right advice, training and help. Gave the Council’s support to the New Deal bid in Braunstone helping to ensure £50million of additional investment. Regeneration of our city, which will have created 8000 jobs by the end of this work.

 

Culture, Leisure and Sport

I oversaw the completion of the National Space Centre as the Councils representative on the Board. I Increased investment in our museums, and initiated the Attenborough Prize for young artists, delivered CURVE to replace the Haymarket and Phoenix Square to replace the Phoenix, turned the old bus depot into the Creative Business Depot. Brought to the city the new St Georges Day Festival and increased the investment in festivals. I was proud to lead the bid for the Special Olympics and ensured that the funding was provided to make the games a success. We put forward a great bid to be a host city for the World Cup and it was a great pity that we were not chosen.

I led the bid which delivered £11 million for new football facilities right across the city. Worked closely with Lord Richard Attenborough to bring his family’s collection of Picasso ceramics to Leicester and opened the exhibition with him in 2007. This was the most successful exhibition in the Gallery’s history.

In 2006 I Commissioned  Underscan  a public art installation from the Canadian/Mexican artist Rafael Lozano Hemmer, for the East Midlands. I opened the installation in Lincoln, Leicester, Northampton, Derby and Nottingham to critical acclaim. Underscan was shown at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and I opened it there with the Mexican Ambassador to Italy. In autumn 2008 it was shown in Trafalgar Square sponsored by the Canadian Embassy and Tate Britain.  Recently Ross officially opened Phoenix Square, the fantastic new replacement for the old Phoenix. This £21million investment combines three sate of the art cinemas, digital media production facilities and living and office space.


Campaigning

I have spent most of my life campaigning for issues and for the Labour Party.
My first election campaign was in 1974 and was an interesting baptism! Since then I have been heavily involved in every election since. First elected to Ibstock parish Council at 21 and the youngest County Councillor in 1985. I have stood for Parliament twice and for the European Parliament.

I have also campaigned for the rights of people with learning disabilities and for carers rights. I successfully represented local people at a public enquiry getting a landfill rubbish tip turned down.

Ross campaigning for the Labour Party in 2010, to keep fire stations open, with his lifelong friend and fellow politician the late David Taylor MP. It was a great blow to us all to lose such a fine man and fantastic member of Parliament when David passed away on Boxing Day 2009. It was David who inspired me to get more involved in politics and we all miss him greatly.

 

The photos of people on this website does not imply their support for the campaign. They show the broad range of activities that Ross has been involved with.
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