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Birstall Post December 2006 (281)

Pic: Admiring the display in the Methodist Church are Charlotte Swift (8), Charlotte Gurney (5), Fern Armstrong (8), Emily Harris (8), Phil Harris, Charlie Brown (7) and Samuel Brown (4)

Christmas cheer

A CHRISTMAS festival filled Birstall Methodist Church with a host of festive figures and Christmas trees.

Pic: the outdoor market

Pic: Janet Bradford and Grand daughter Jemima Montague (5)

Pic: Mathew & William Breward-McReynolds (both 7) with Santa

Visitors enjoyed Santas, snowmen, scarecrows and other characters created by individuals, schools and local groups.
The church also organised an outdoor Christmas market with home made food, decorations and a Santa's grotto

Business park anger

A PUBLIC meeting about the proposed business park north of Birstall was attended by around 60 people, many of them angry about the plans.
The 20 hectare site north of the A46 and south of Rothley is a feature of Charnwood Borough Council's Local Development Framework, 'Charnwood 2021' which sets out proposals for employment land and housing.
The meeting, held at the Rothley Centre in November, was organised by Birstall Parish Council, Rothley Parish Council and Wanlip Parish Meeting.
Guy Longley, Planning Policy Manager at Charnwood Borough Council gave a presentation about how the proposals fitted in to the ongoing planning process. He explained that the Regional Plan, published by the East Midlands Regional Assembly (EMRA) in September, contained new figures for housing requirements in the county. The figures for Charnwood had increased from 8,833 to 19,033 for the period up to 2026.
Mr Longley said these increased figures would have implications for the amount of employment land that Charnwood would have to find in the Borough. This is one of the reasons he said, that their 'Charnwood 2021' plan will not be submitted to the Secretary of State in November, as the implications of the Regional Plan need to be considered.
Comments made by the public at the meeting included:
o Charnwood has more than its fair share of development, Melton Borough should take more
o The plans will result in unbroken development for the A46 north to Loughborough
o This is a top down decision made by an unelected and unrepresentative body, EMRA
o Rothley Lodge is a monstrosity that has dragged the whole area down, this will be more of the same
o We should direct our ire at MPs and the higher-ups who make these decisions
o Employment land is mainly warehouses that do not employ many people, but have a tremendous negative impact on the local infrastructure
o It's all about cash, the landowners and the developers are just looking to cash in
o More public meetings are needed, with MPs, decision makers, TV and the national press
o Guy Longley made the point that it was important to remember the benefits that followed from development
The Draft Regional Plan , published by EMRA, is currently in a public consultation period that ends on December 20.
Anyone who wishes to express their views about development north of Birstall, or the allocation of housing to Charnwood, can do so by sending their comments to The Panel Secretary, c/o Government Office for the East Midlands, The Belgrave Centre, Stanley Place, Talbot Street, Nottingham NG1 5GG. Email : rss.panel@goem.gsi.gov.uk
An independent examination in public on the key issues raised by the public consultation process will start in May 2007. The final Regional Plan will be adopted by the Secretary of State in early 2008.
The Draft Regional Plan can be seen at Birstall Library or at www.emra.gov.uk/regionalplan

Dreaming of gold

A FOURTEEN year old boy from Birstall has been selected for the Great Britain gymnastics team for the London Olympics in 2012.

Reece Pearson of Spinney Rise started gymnastics at the age of five and has been in the national squad since the age of nine.
Mum Julie said: "He started at the Stonehill School gymnastics club and the coach there saw that he had great potential and said we should look for a gymnastic school."
Reece now attends the Rushcliffe School, Nottingham and trains for 33 hours a week at the East Midlands Gymnastic Centre which is on the same site. Accomplished at all the disciplines, Reece is strongest on the high bar and pommels.

In November he won the under 14 British championships in Wigan, scoring the highest number of points and winning gold medals for the high bar and pommels. In 2004 he won the same title in the under 12 category.
Reece said: "What I like about gymnastics is that it's so different from other sports. You need all different types of skills and you have to be good at all of the pieces not just one to win the medals. When I win I feel a big rush of achievement, pride and the feeling that all the time in the gym has paid off.
He added: "When I'm competing for Great Britain I feel very proud to be competing for my country especially at my age. I would say my favourite apparatus is parallel bars because there are hundreds of different moves and it's never boring. My target is always to train harder because if you train better than anyone else you will come out on top. My ambition is definitely to compete in the 2012 Olympics and win a medal for my country and to carry on for 2016."
In December he travels to Germany with the UK team for another competition.

Fire station plans

PLANS FOR the fire station at the Hallam Fields site are being prepared by Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS).
The plans are at the pre-application stage but a full planning application is expected to be submitted to Charnwood before Christmas.
Land for a fire station on the site has always been a part of the plans for Hallam Fields.
At the November meeting of Birstall Parish Council, Steve Lunn, Assistant Chief Fire and Rescue Office for Leicestershire, presented details of the proposals to councillors.
LRFS intends to provide a fire station, administrative centre and an educational centre. Two buildings are proposed, with car parking in between.
The new buildings would enable the service to centralise their existing sites leading to efficiency savings. The new Safety Zone for children located at Syston could move to Birstall when its current three year lease expires.
Mr Richard Cooper from architects Pick Everard explained that the building adjacent to the access road would be curved to present an attractive façade and that the car park would be hidden from view.
Consideration was being given to the incorporation of 'green' elements such as wind turbines, geothermal heating with elements buried in the ground beneath the car park and biomass boilers.
The intention is to use treated softwood timber and areas of copper on the elevations. The copper will weather to an attractive green colour that will change with age, said Mr Cooper.
The fire station will have two fire engines with a slot left vacant for a third, and a dedicated dropping off point for children arriving in coaches at the educational centre.
The fire station will be a three storey structure and the administration centre two storey. 110 parking places are planned.
The fire station will be located to the south west of the service station and lorry park which is planned for the north east corner of the site, next to the A6/A46 roundabout.
Drawing and plans were unavailable at the time of going to press but we hope to publish them in the January issue of the Birstall Post

Parish council notes

A FULL meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held on November 13.
It was reported that Cllr Sue Gerrard has resigned due to work commitments.
Steve Lunn from Leicestershire Fire Service gave a presentation on the Fire Service's proposals for a fire station, administrative centre and an educational centre.
Councillors agreed to object to a planning application for a detached dwelling at 271 Birstall Road. It was agreed to request that the height of a planned garage at 15 Firfield Avenue be reduced, and that a condition of planning consent be that the garage could not have any future use as a dwelling.
Cllr Roger Wilson commented that Charnwood Borough Council does not intend to increase the housing provision at Birstall. He said Charnwood intend to promote the acquisition of two plots of employment land in 2006-09 in the South Charnwood area. He added that the longer term aim was to look at areas possibly near Thurcaston.

Birstall books

ARE YOU looking for a stocking filler with a difference?
Then look no further: Birstall Local History Society's books with their fascinating pictures and stories of 'Old Birstall' will be enjoyed and appreciated by all who know our village.
Bygone Birstall. Vol 1 & Vol 2. 64 pages & 72 pages £2.50 each. Over 100 photographs of long gone halls, cottages, people and events.
Birstall Trail. A tour of Old Birstall. 18 pages £3.00. A map and specially commissioned illustrations by Tom Ball describe 34 places of interest.
Names Around Birstall. 36 pages £3.50. The stories behind the names on our village War Memorial and our roads and streets.
John Mansfield of Birstall. 208 pages £10.00. Lived at Birstall Hall for 40 years. As Leicester's Mayor and MP he faced wars, a duel, municipal corruption, riots and poverty in the streets. A revealing picture of local life two centuries ago.
Ring Mike Smith on 2675792 and your order will be delivered to your door.

Teacher not guilty

A RETIRED primary school teacher from Birstall has been cleared by a jury of sexually abusing two girls.
Mr Michael Robert Allan of Woodgate Drive was charged with four counts of indecent assault. The incidents were alleged to have taken place in the 1980s against two girls aged seven and nine.
The jury of nine women and three men at Leicester Crown Court took just over three hours to unanimously acquit Mr Allan.
The court case was a retrial, the original hearing in July having been halted because of a legal problem.

Scoop poop

CHARNWOOD BOROUGH Council's new team of Street Wardens will have the power under the Clean Neighbourhood & Environment Act (2005) to issue an £80 on the spot fine to persons who fail to pick up dog faeces.
If that fine is not paid, then court proceedings will be started which may result in a fine of up to £1,000 plus costs being awarded.
Cllr Sandie Gough, Charnwood Borough Council's Cabinet member for Environment, said: "Dog owners not clearing up after their pets will not only be leaving a potential health hazard behind but they could also find themselves out of pocket as well. "Every dog owner should try and train their dog to go at home and carry poop scoops just in case your pet gets caught short when out for a walk.
"Poop Scoop bags are available free of charge from the Council. Alternatively a supermarket carrier bag or nappy disposal bag can be used. There is no excuse - clearing up after your dog is an essential part of your responsibility as a dog owner."
There are approximately 6,000,000 dogs in Britain that deposit in the region of 1,000 tonnes of faeces every day. Not only can dog mess be unpleasant, it is also a health hazard and the council is fully committed to educating dog owners in conjunction with enforcement. Once you've scooped the poop you can double bag it and pop it in any bin. Alternatively, there are waste bins specifically for dog mess around Charnwood.
To report an instance of enviro-crime, such as abandoned vehicles, fly-tipping, graffiti, litter, dog fouling and grot spots or issues of street cleansing, call the Charnwood Borough Council's dedicated hotline number on 01509 634563 or log onto www.charnwood.gov.uk and fill in the online forms.

Artists’ exhibition

BIRSTALL AND District Art Society held their 12th annual exhibition of paintings in the village hall on Saturday November 4 until Monday 6.

Pics: presented with their prizes by Jennifer Lady Gretton are (clockwise from top left) Serena Seymour (7), Charlotte Platts (10), winner Karishma Shah (10) and Bethany Fowkes (10)

The exhibition, visited by 830 people, was opened by well known local artist Kathy Layfield.
This year we had a competition involving local schoolchildren who were asked to prepare works depicting the seasons. The winners were presented with prizes by Jennifer Lady Gretton.

Poppies by Rita Cowham

Anne Carter making a collage

Roses by Katy van Geffen

Gem & Colt by Bethany Rhodes

The Poppy Painter by Marion Smith

A Glimpse of Heaven by Sue Faulks

Our sponsors again donated vouchers for the winners of the six categories of paintings. The results were judged by well known local professional artists Andrew Michael-Smith, Peter Sumpter, Alan Oliver, Kathy Layfield and Shirley and David Easton. The results were as follows:-
o Best Watercolour was won by Rita Cowham for 'Poppies'
o Best Oil was won by Bob Harkness for 'Spring Tide'
o Best Pastel was won by Marion Smith for 'Rooster'
o Best Landscape was won by Sue Faulks for 'A glimpse of heaven'
o Best Still Life was won by Jean Bates for 'Aphrodites pebbles'
o Most imaginative was won by Charlotte Stephenson for 'Path to Torridon'

The best picture in the show, voted for by all the visitors, was won by John Kennedy for 'A Quiet Place' with 37 votes
The raffle for the pastel 'Cloudscape' by Alan Potter was won by Charlotte Stephenson an art society member.
Thanks go to all the visitors to the show, to the many businesses in and around Birstall who displayed our posters, and the Posy Bowl who brightened up the hall with all the lovely floral displays.
From Fred Parrott, Chairman BADAS

Hallam Fields art

DESIGNS FOR the public art at Hallam Fields are being prepared by consultants Orange Dot and the artists chosen by them for the project.
Lucy Banwell from Orange Dot said: "We have been working with the artists and the Hallam Fields Design Team to refine all the different ideas into a full programme of work to take place over the next few years. As part of the programme artist Martin Heron has been working with Jelson Ltd and the Design Team to make small scale works for the site.
"He has designed a series of sculptural walls and look-out points, which will start being installed next year. He is also working on designs for a large land-mark feature for the site."
Jo Fairfax has been exploring ways of making interventions using lighting, Trudi Entwistle has been designing informal meeting and seating spaces using earth mounding, and Nadya Monfrinoli has developed a series of different projects that will involve local people in making art work for the site.
Many elements of the public art programme also involve making art work for the rest of Birstall - not just for Hallam Fields. Lucy said: "There is scope for a significant serious of arts workshops, events and celebrations, which will provide lots more opportunities for people to get involved in the coming years."
The Team are currently exploring possibilities for funding the ongoing programme.
Orange Dot are planning on inviting interested local people to come and discuss the plans for the programme, and there will be more details of this in a future Post.

WI news

AT THE November meeting of Birstall & Wanlip WI, members listened to a very interesting and informative talk given by Mrs Sheila Wilson, about her year in office as Mayoress of Charnwood.
The Bradgate Group Carol Service will be held at Birstall Methodist Church on Friday December 1 at 7.30pm.
The next Institute meeting is Monday December 4 at Highcliffe School, It will be the AGM followed by a 'Bring and Share' supper.

Police item

As the winter months approach and the dark nights are upon us, most people's minds are on Christmas and the New Year. However, I would like to start by asking everyone not to forget simple crime prevention advice. Thee has been a couple of occasions in recent weeks where homes have been left insecure ie windows open or doors unlocked and an opportunist burglar has taken his chance.
As a police officer it is my role to prevent and detect crime and so I would urge everyone just to take a few more minutes each evening ensuring their homes are secure and not an easy target for the criminals. If you require any further crime prevention advice then please contact PCSO Butler or myself. Your personal safety is also a primary matter to consider. If you are out late try as much as possible to stick to well lit areas, travel with another person or stay close to other larger groups you feel comfortable around. I know this is not always possible but look after number one, don't make yourself an easy target. Zip up your bags and keep mobile phones out of sight. So far this type of crime has not been a large problem in Birstall but it never hurts to be vigilant.
Also, there to help you is your local Neighbourhood Watch. The dedication and professionalism of the volunteers has greatly impressed me in the few short months I have been here and they are always so willing to help your community whenever it is called for. They have a wealth of knowledge themselves to assist you in any crime prevention you may require, I can easily see why they are classed as one of the best schemes in the country. I would also ask that if you see something you're not happy with but don't feel it a matter for the police, let the Neighbourhood Watch know (tel: 2676397) and if they think it serious enough then we get to know anyway. Any information, no matter how small can always help.
As I have touched on, burglaries have once again taken a turn for the worse, you are not alone in this, the surrounding villages have also suffered, please be aware and let us know of anything suspicious, especially strange vehicles, bogus officials and similar.
You may like to know that I have arranged for a covert speeding device to be put n place at certain areas around the village, due to the high amount of interest and complaints received about the numerous speeding cars. Please be aware and if you are an offender, slow down and have a bit more consideration otherwise you could end up with a large fine and points on your licence, or worse still, someone's death on your conscience!
Bringing it back to a nicer tone, I hope you will all have a nice, stress free holiday season and enjoy yourselves and I hope your new year starts well.

PC815 Chris Falle
Birstall Beat Officer

Village Watch news

Car Licence Plate Theft
This problem is on the rise with a 32% increase in London, thieves steal or copy number plates from random vehicles and attach them to another car.
This car is then used to commit motoring offences or even more serious crimes such as:
o stealing fuel from petrol stations: known as 'Bilking'
o parking/speeding charges
o congestion/toll charges
Many victims are unaware that fraudsters are committing offences in their name, until they receive fines through the post for places they have never visited.
The Watch has been made aware of at least one such incident by a member of the public visiting our Saturday Advice Shop. It's important to report if your licence plates are stolen or removed, and obtain a crime reference number as quickly as possible.
New anti-theft plates will be available, making it difficult for thieves to remove them, and will shatter if tampered with.
Home Security at Christmas
Remember as the festive season approaches, to be extra vigilant about home security - thieves would like your Christmas presents!
On behalf of the committee we would like to express our grateful thanks to all who have supported the Watch during the year.
We wish you a Crime Free Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Ed Marshall, Chairman

Gym’s 1000th member

Pic: Katie Solomons (left) is the gym's 1000th member. She is pictured with Sonia Neale and Carl Gunns

CARL GUNNS' gym on Birstall Road has signed up its 1000th member - 25 year old Katie Solomons from Syston.
Katie said: "I'm used to training four or five times a week in a normal gym and it's hard to keep motivated. This will be something new, I'll be keeping fit and learning boxing skills as well."
She added: "Everyone here has been so welcoming, it's really, really good."
Carl Gunns said: "It's terrific to have got to our 1000th member considering I only started with seven. The effort and the commitment of the girls has really surprised me - I am impressed.

Kicking for charity

A KARATE school that operates in the Charnwood villages has raised £600 for Heartlink charities.
Eastwest Karate is run by Michael Gannon. He said: "We ran a very successful kickathon at the club recently with some students performing up to 2,000 kicks in less than an hour."
Eastwest has also been giving away short karate courses to local schools as part of 'a fit heart is a healthy heart' campaign.
If you would like to find out more and receive a free v.i.p. information pack and DVD phone Michael Gannon on 0116 2623080.
Pic: Shannon Smith roundhouse kick.

Supper with friends

THE FIRST event organised by Supper with Friends, a friendly Midlands based social group, was a meal at the Packe Arms, Hoton.
Organiser Anne Kingham said: "It was a lovely group of people and a very enjoyable evening."
The group was formed to provide opportunities for unattached men and women over 45 to meet in friendly and informal settings, to make new friends and extend their social circle, without belonging to a dating or match-making agency. SwF meets monthly at different venues across the Midlands, all chosen for their relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
Some comments made by members following the event were:
"A very enjoyable evening with some lovely people", "Thank you so much for SwF, it is such a good idea", "Very friendly. I felt relaxed and welcome"
In November, the group enjoyed a meal with a jazz trio playing at the Hunting Lodge in Barrow. In December they are going to Brooksby Hall for Christmas meal and disco, and also to the Grange Alpine Restaurant at Asfordby Hill for lunch.
For details of membership and forthcoming events please contact Anne on 01664 424390 or email Kate at supperwithfriends@gmail.com

The December 2006 Birstall Post continues here
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