Leicester City Council to address housing shortage with £45m borrowing plan

Plus: SEND transport protest, Tory councillor suspended, and a new education centre opens in the city.

Photo of terraced houses. Credit: CG6 Images

In Focus

Leicester City Council to address housing shortage with £45m borrowing plan

by Jess Bourne

Leicester City Council will borrow up to £45m to try and ease the housing crisis locally after councillors agreed to the measures at a full council meeting on Thursday, 21 March 2024.

All parties, except the Liberal Democrats, supported the plan. Under the plan, the council will purchase 225 properties for temporary accommodation and lease an additional 125 to address the rising demand for social housing. The council intends to relocate families from hotels and bed and breakfasts to appropriate housing.

Speaking about the scheme, Sir Peter Soulsby said: “The reason it’s an absolute necessity for us to be doing this [the £45 million loan scheme], which is novel for us, because of the housing crisis which is a result directly of Government policy.” 

The council claims that if they were not to take this action, it would cost them £23m in the next financial year, which is something they cannot afford and would put them one step closer to filing a Section 114 notice, effectively bankruptcy. Soulsby believes this is “almost inevitable”.

Last year, homeless charity Shelter estimated that over 700 people were sleeping rough across the city. As of October 2023, the council has 306 families in temporary accommodation. 

The pressure on the provision of temporary accommodation is not a local one as most authorities are facing similar problems with housing supply. Other cities across the UK – including Birmingham, Coventry, and Plymouth – have also agreed to spend more funds on purchasing properties in the next two years to try and reduce the number of people living without permanent accommodation.  

However, the plan has faced criticism from other political groups on the council. The Liberal Democrats said: “It’s a short-term fix they have come up with for a long-term problem. What we’re suggesting is the council starts to use some of this money to build new homes so it isn’t a short-term stop gap of more temporary housing for homeless families”.

Banner for Leicester Vaughan College - join as a member for a one-off £1 member fee and help support university-level adult education in Leicester.

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Weather Forecast

Phil Morrish, our local weather watcher, has been in sunny Portugal this week, so today’s weather is very brief and drawn from The Met Office. Phil will resume the weather forecast next week.

🌧️ Today: Cool and cloudy with rain across northern parts only gradually easing. The odd heavier outbreak, especially across hills. Drier and brighter further south, but isolated heavy showers possible, perhaps thundery. Maximum temperature 14C.

🌦️ Outlook for Tuesday to Thursday: Variable cloud Tuesday, with sunny spells but also occasional heavy showers. Rain spreading north overnight and Wednesday, heavy at times. Rain band clearing east Thursday. Some warm sunnier intervals throughout.

Source: The Met Office

In the News

by Levi Kirton

Families protest cuts to special needs financial support: Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) students aged 16 to 19 will no longer receive financial support or transport from Leicester City Council. Families of those affected protested before the city council’s education scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday - LDRS

Leicester City Council services back online after cyber attack: After being crippled by a cyber attack three weeks ago, all council services, including phone lines, their website, council tax, and leisure centres, are all operating as usual. The Gazette has found some sections of the council’s website are still displaying incorrectly, so do use the phone lines if you run into trouble - Leicester Mercury

Councillor suspended after alleged threatening behaviour: Leicester Conservative councillor Sanjay Modhwadia has been suspended from the party for 21 days after Cllr Deepak Bajaj accused him of “issuing intimidating threats”. Cllr Modhwadia denies the allegations and both the Conservative group and Leicester Police are investigating the incident - LDRS

Leicester care home manager named Dementia Carer of the Year: Juliet McNeilly, Care Home Manager at Devonshire Court, attended the National Great British Care Award Finals in Birmingham. The award ceremony honoured incredible individuals and their work in the care sector - Leicester Times

New education centre opens in the city: Dame Maggie Aderin-Pocock opened Leicester’s IntoUniversity Centre in Beaumont Leys. The centre will provide after-school academic support, mentoring, in-school workshops and work experience opportunities for students aged seven to 18 who live in deprived areas of Leicester - University of Leicester

Local marketing lecturer thinks Gen-Z could save The Body Shop: Caroline Spence reminisces about the role The Body Shop played in her childhood and the impact the company has had on women and animal testing. Spence says despite the brand’s failure, she still has faith and believes Gen-Z encapsulate the brand’s values and has the potential to save the brand - Great Central Gazette

The Body Shop was the scent of my youth – and it’s young people who could resurrect the brand
I’m exactly the right age (46) to look back with nostalgia on the significant part that The Body Shop played in my teen years.

Photo of the Week

Send your photos to news@greatcentralgazette.org to be featured.
Please include your name and a short description.
Photo of a toad at Beacon Hill. Credit: Rob Miller

A toad at Beacon Hill late last month, taken while reader Rob Miller was out walking his dogs. In his words: “It’s mating season, and dozens of them were all over the path looking for some action".

What’s On

by Leah Everquill

Did you know that we now have an events calendar on our website? Perfect for event organisers and the public alike. Submit your events free, forever. Or take a look at What’s On by day, week and month – plus, you can easily subscribe and have local events from across the city appear in your calendar as and when they’re added.
🚨 – Last chance
💷 – Entry fee
🆓 – Free of charge

🆓 Performance Poetry Labs with Ty’rone Haughton  2 and 16 April 2024

Would you like to develop your performance poetry skills? Pop down to Leicester Central Library for a fantastic free workshop by spoken word artist Ty’rone Haughton. Runs from 7pm-9pm.

🚨 💷 Make a Unicorn – 4 April 2024

Belgrave Hall and Gardens are offering fun, family-friendly workshops where you can paint and assemble your own wooden unicorn! The session costs £6 per participant. Runs between 11am and 3:30pm.

🚨 💷 Cashing Up! – 5 April 2024

Visit Newarke Houses for a terrific, family-friendly activity day all about money. The sessions include stories, games, exploring, and crafts! Pay £3 for the craft activities. Runs from 11am-3pm.

💷 Traces Performance by Daryl Beeton and Laura Dajao – 7 April 2024

Head over to Attenborough Arts Centre for a playful performance that combines storytelling and dance. Performances all day from 11:30am. Tickets from £5.

🆓 Easter Egg Hunt – Now until 8 April 2024

Follow an exciting Easter egg trail around Leicester – claim a free chocolate egg when you’ve found them all! 

🆓 Procession in Bali: A World in a Painting – Now until 8 September 2024

Fancy looking at some artwork? Head to Leicester Museum & Art Gallery for a terrific exhibition of Ian Fairweather’s art.

On the Market

by Rhys Everquill

GIF of Victorian-period house on Knighton Road, Stoneygate, Leicester, LE2. Credit: Oliver Rayns

This enchanting home on Knighton Road is a stunning example of the Victorian-period homes that dot Leicester’s streets. From unique archways and alcoves to original fireplaces and cornicing, it has everything you need plus the charm.

Price: £680,000

Food and Drink

by Rhys Everquill

Instead of the usual food review this week, we’re spotlighting local food critic @veganpicklemenu, who has a page on Instagram. Their homemade vegan dishes look delicious! They occasionally rate independent vegan restaurants, too. They rank each meal out of 10 pickles. Yes. Pickles. Check them out, and give them a follow.

Sports highlights

by David Landwehr

Men’s football: Leicester longing for the days of certain promotion as the playoffs become a possible outcome, on Friday Leicester had a miss-step at a crucial point in the championship. The once-dominant team is now 3rd in the table. Bristol 1 - Leicester 0. Read more

Men’s cricket: As the county cricket season approaches, Leicestershire shone brightly in the rain-riddled preseason friendly against Warwickshire. Leicestershire CCC starts their season on 5 April away in Yorkshire. Read more

Women’s football: LCFC Women’s held Aston Villa to a draw, with Yuka Momiki and Sam Tierney keeping Leicester in a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa. Read more


by Rhys Everquill

The old tram line is partly exposed in the roadworks on Frog Island. Credit: Richard Lowe

The old tram line is partly exposed in the roadworks on Frog Island.

Degree-level part-time courses, workshops and seminars at Leicester Vaughan College

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