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Labour Wins in Blaby

28th February, 2020

Very happy to help in the the Blaby District Council and Braunstone Town Council by-elections. Which saw our two Labour Candidates Leanne Marie Lee and Nick Brown elected. A great boost to the campaign to elect a Labour Police and Crime Commissioner.IMG_0790 3

Save Rushey Mead Library & Community Centre

21st January, 2017

image1The campaign to save the Library and Community Centre in Rushey Mead moved up a gear today when over a 100 people met to protest about the closure.

Despite clear opposition in the consultation and protests from the Ward councillors Cllr Kirk Master (Assistant Mayor responsible for the closure) has decided to close the Library and move in into the community centre.

Cllrs Ross Willmott and Mo Chohan (Belgrave ward) were invited to the protest and spoke againt the Council’s proposals. We both thanked all these local people for coming out on a very cold day and for all their efforts to keep the Library and Centre.

The Council is proposing to put the library into the Recreation Centre. Close the library building and sell it off, or demolish it. This is the worst of all possible worlds. The local community loses a small but popular and valuable library as there is not the room in the Recreation Centre to have the Library and at the same time for it to be used by community groups. The many community groups who use the Recreation Centre will no longer be able to. There just isn’t enough room and a Zumba keep fit group is hardly a good companion to children trying to study!

IMG_5470Both the Library and Recreation centre are very well used. The Rec Centre brought in an income of £9000 last year which when deducted from its running costs of £11000 meant it only cost £2000 to run for a whole year. The Library costs around £14000 to run a year. Moving the Library into the Rec Centre risks losing this income as there simply won’t be room or there will be too much noise.

So the saving to the council is a lot less than it is claimed to be, once this income is lost.

Local people would like the council to continue to run both the Library and the Centre. However they did recognise that savings have to be found as the Tory government has cut the council’s budget. They suggested that the Recreation centre be transferred to the communty (as as been agreed in other parts of the City). This would produce a small saving and keep both buildings open. This suggestion has been rejected by the council. Local people are rightly angry and do not feel listened to. They said in the meeting “what is the point of voting for a Labour mayor and councillors if they don’t listen” Ross explained that he was confident they would listen and the petition would give them the opportunity to put their case.

Ross met with Keith Vaz on Friday 20th Jan to explain to him why the council proposals were unworkable. he agreed and could not understand why the council was not listening to local people. This followed a meeting that Keith Vaz attended in December last year.

Local people are gathering signatures on a petition which should mean this decision will be debated at a Full Council meeting.

We are all hoping that Cllr Master will have a change of mind as he did with Belgrave Library.

Petitions to sign are available at all the shops next to the Library.

I will keep you updated through my Blog.

If you want to get involved in the campaign or sign the petition call Jotie on 07988033234

Cllrs in Clarendon Park have just launched a campaign to save their library we wish them luck and will be supporting their efforts.

ps I am pleased to say that in response to the rumours that a deal had already been done for a group to occupy the Library if it is closed, Assistant Mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair has made it clear that there is no such deal. Cllr Clair is also one of the Rushey Mead councillors.


Rushey Mead Library


Rushey Mead Recreation Centre

Great rally with Jeremy Corbyn in Nottingham

8th September, 2016

IMG_4753I’ve just got back from the biggest politcal rally I’ve seen since the miners strike in the 1980’s.

There must have been two to three thousand people at Forest Fields in Nottingham. Luckily it was outdoors so there were no limits on numbers who could come along.

It was a great positive atmosphere with many speakers explaining the real difference a Labour Government would make.

Lets end this false austerity, which punishes ordinary working people, and leaves bankers to enjoy their bonuses of millions of pounds. Such unfairness in society must end. The Tories as ever are looking after their own whilst the vast majority of us honest taxpayers are the ones who are suffering.

Jeremy was received with a resounding cheer and the mood of optimism was infectious.

Mobilising people on this scale shows that Jeremy Corbyn is in touch with people and has every chance of becoming Prime Minister.



City Scrutiny throws out Fire service cuts

16th October, 2015

At the meeting of the Overview Select Committee on 15th October 2015 City Councillors

photo 5

unanimously rejected the proposed cuts in the Fire Service. After hearing from the Chief Fire Officer and the Fire Brigades Union councillors agreed that the proposals would leave the city unsafe. Proposals to close the central fire station

and cover the City from Wigston, were likened to buying a fire extinguisher for your kitchen but keeping it in the attic. The protection should be near to the areas of high risk, our hospitals, universities, sports grounds, high rise flats, listed buildings that don’t have modern fire precautions and so on. Claims that fire engines were able to get from outlying stations to anywhere in the city in 10 minutes were laughed at. It seemed that computer models did not allow for traffic.

The scrutiny committee also criticised the figures in the budget, arguing that the level of cuts need were exaggerated. It was confirmed by the Finance Officer that a planning provision rising to £1.2m in 2019 was not a statutory requirement. If this money  was instead used to reduce the savings it would produce a £1.2m surplus in 2016, which if carried forward would produce a £0.9m surplus in 2017, leaving a £400,000 overspend in 2018. (then this could be dealt with by another £1.8m in reserves) This approach is the same as the City Mayor has used to balance the Council’s books over the last few years and councillors urged him to apply it to the Fire Authority to avoid these damaging cuts.

Councillors also agreed to urge the Fire Authority to consider a referendum to increase the precept, to cover the budget shortfall. One member pointed out that if this was done the increase could be as little as 60p a month. There was strong support for this as. All felt that the public would support such a very small increase rather than put lives at risk as these cuts clearly do.


The resolution agreed was:

“The OSC thanks the Chief Fire officer and the FBU for their presentations which were informative. Having listened to these the Overview Select Committee resolves to reject the Budget consultation proposals as we believe that they are flawed in the following ways:

  1. a) that they will leave the city unsafe
  2. b) that they do not consider alternative savings options as put forward by the FBU including at the new HQ building in Birstall
  3. c) the budget assumptions exaggerate the level of savings required.

We therefore call on the Fire Authority and the City Mayor to:

1) fully explore alternative savings options as outlined by the FBU and members this evening, including savings at the Birstall HQ

2) to look at a managed reserves budget strategy which could produce a balanced budget for the next 3 years. During this time plan a referendum, with a county wide campaign, to support and increase in the Fire Precept to meet the longer term budget shortfall.


Six fire engines attending a fire last year on Loughborough Rd.



Richard Attenborough

26th January, 2015

I was sorting through some photographs the other day, and found some of Richard Attenborough. A couple of which I have posted here, as a memorial to a great man and a good friend who died on 24th August last year.

I first met Richard Attenborough in 1996 when he came to Ibstock with my good friend the late David Taylor MP. We were campaigning in the 1997 General Election. It was quite an occasion driving down Ibstock High Street in Richard’s green Rolls Royce with vote Labour stickers in the windows! Richard brought his special magic to that day, something that I was to experience many times again over the succeeding years. It worked. David was elected in that most memorable of all elections that saw Labour come to power in a landslide victory.

I became Leader of the City Council in May 1999 and I was to meet Richard and David again that year. It was the 150th anniversary of New Walk Museum and Welford Rd Cemetery.

It was a beautiful summer’s day which started with the burying of a time capsule at Welford Road Cemetery. Then in an early Corporation double decker bus we followed the route that the Mayor took in 1849 from the City rooms. So slow was the bus that some of us got off to lighten to load, so it could get up the hill. 

The Lord Mayor Cllr Phil Swift opened the celebrations and joined us on the faster journey down the hill to New Walk Museum. We spent the rest of the day touring the City’s museums including the beautiful gardens at Belgrave Hall (which were then freely open to the public)


During this visit began the long discussions about the future of Richard and Sheila’s collection of Picasso ceramics. I remember taking tea in the Lord Mayor’s parlour and Richard turning to me and saying “Ross, when I fall off the twig would the council take a few of the ceramics that we have collected over the years”. What followed was nearly 10 years of work culminating in the most celebrated exhibition ever at the New Walk Museum of the very fine collection of Picasso ceramics, which we opened in 2007.

Picasso Ceramics

Picasso Ceramics


Richard told me how his children used to play with the piece we were looking at in the photo! Sheila was amazed at how wonderful they all looked when lit in the special display cases. She was just used to seeing them around the house.

It was always joyous to work with Richard and we all looked forward to his visits. His great charm, humour and genuine interest in those around him was infectious and made every occasion special. I loved listening to his wonderful stories about Hollywood legends, which he would just drop into.

Over the years we became friends and he was one of the most special people I have ever known. He had a certain magic.  I miss him greatly.





Her Majesty the Queen opens CURVE with Ross and Adam Cooper

17th December, 2010

It was one of the proudest moments of my life when CURVE was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 2009. It was 10 years since I first had the idea for a new theatre and Cultural Quarter for Leicester.  On becoming leader of the council in 1999 I inherited plans to replace the Haymarket with a library where the car park is in the Haymarket centre. This followed failed lottery bids to refurbish the existing Haymarket Theatre. I thought we should keep a producing theatre for the city, as it was something Leicester had that other cities didn’t. It’s work had a national reputation that we should cherish. If we were going to invest a lot of money lets have a building we could see and be proud of. The rest, as they say, is history. All of which is well documented elsewhere. It’s tremendous that CURVE is now going from strength to strength with fantastic reviews under the direction of Paul Kerryson. And it has helped to bring back to life a forgotten corner of our city.

Ross launches City Clean Up Team and fulfils another election promise

17th December, 2010

Lots of people had told me that there was too much litter in the city and it was too untidy, and I have to say I thought they had a point! Under the Lib Dems and Tories the council had spent a fortune on mechanical cleaners and increased hours of cleaning and yet there was little improvement. So I took myself off one day to have a look at what they did. It didn’t take me long to see that the Green Machines were ok in the road but they could not clean up on the streets, under seats, and in nooks and crannies where rubbish was blown. I discussed this with colleagues and we agreed to try the old fashioned way and get some good people with brooms and shovels. This is exactly what we did and the City Clean Up Team was born.

Do you think it’s working? Would you like to see more of this around the city? let me know.

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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