Most Long Leys residents will already be familiar with LLRA and the work it does but as an introduction to those new to the area, and to those who work or spend leisure time here, this article provides:
- Background on LLRA’s origins
- Some of the work LLRA does
- LLRA democratic structure and constitution.
LLRA is the representative body for Long Leys residents and supports the interests of the community with bodies such as the city and county councils. With no income or fixed assets and managed purely by volunteers, its activities are driven by what the community wants and will support, whether it is giving up their free time for litter picking or contributing money to a campaign fund to achieve a specific purpose.
In 2018 LLRA was designated by City of Lincoln Council as Neighbourhood Planning Forum for the Long Leys area. As a planning forum LLRA has the responsibility to anticipate and plan for the facilities and buildings needed by the Long Leys community over the next 20-40 years.
The Association has a management committee, currently made up of seven elected and one co-opted committee members. Officers include a Chair, Vice chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Elections are held as part of the LLRA Annual General Meeting (AGM) with one third of the committee being elected each year, by members. All residents of Long Leys, 16 and over, are automatically full voting members.
The current LLRA structure developed out of two historically separate organisations:
- A group responsible for liaison with the housing developers at St. George’s.
- A campaign group opposed to an industrial development on Long Leys Road, considered inappropriate in a primarily residential area.
In the late 1990s Long Leys had circa 150 homes. At the turn of the Millennium, around 420 homes were added by developers, at Mitchell Drive and St. Georges. There was a need to protect the interest of new residents as the estates were built and thanks to some enterprising residents a democratic constitution was created, and Long Leys Residents Association (LLRA) was born.
Good work was done by LLRA on liaison with the city and county council on the ‘loose ends’ that needed addressing on the St. George’s development. However, a lack of financial and legal power prevented a more robust response to the failure of developers and the city council to deliver at least the basic grocery shop and community meeting facilities presented as part of the Long Leys ‘”Urban Village” concept in the city council’s 1998 Local Plan.
Formed to support residents opposing a proposed large-scale commercial development on Long Leys Road, involving HGV trucks. The year-long campaign, involving hundreds of Long Leys and neighbouring residents in the West End, included:
- Opposing the planning application and appeal on specific planning grounds (noise, odour & fire risk)
- Raising £12,000 from over 300 hundred different homes in the area to oppose a planning appeal
- Working with a barrister, a local planning consultancy and commissioning specialist consultant reports on noise, odour and fire risk.
After a year-long campaign, the developer withdrew just prior to the start of a Public Inquiry. Since the developer had abandoned their appeal, the community incurred unnecessary costs which the developer agreed to repay. This meant all the money raised was still available for other community purposes, with an element retained as a legal fund to be used if required in the future to protecting resident interests.
During the campaign, some members of the campaign group successfully stood for election onto the LLRA management committee, effectively merging the two groups finances and aims.
The passion and enthusiasm displayed by the community in the campaign inspired the LLRA to focus on delivering positive developments to the area. LLRA’s two missions became:
- Represent the community to other organisations
- Plan facilities needed by the community, using powers under the Localism Act 2011. Recent examples: Whittons Park playpark, proposed Long Leys Village Centre project.
LLRA ACTIVITIES include a wide spread of different initiatives. This includes liaison with both the city and county councils to address ongoing problems, (such as flytipping). Or to represent resident interests with local businesses when their operations touch on the lives of the community. And our contacts with the police, to hopefully address most issues before they become ongoing problems.
INPUT TO COMMONS ADVISORY PANEL
TRAFFIC CALMING AND ‘SID’
After a community vote at the 2018 LLRA AGM, a Speed Indicator Device (SID) was purchased to reduce the risk of speeding traffic on Long Leys Road. SID volunteers move the unit around different locations in Long Leys and the West End. Its purpose is to educate drivers on appropriate speeds. Since SID’s introduction, far fewer drivers exceed the speed limit. It also provides data on hourly traffic volumes through Long Leys.
BRIGHTENING EVERYONE’S DAY
SUPPORTING ELDERLY & VULNERABLE
Response to COVID: In 2020 LLRA set up a Long Leys Resilient Community Group which allocated each home in the area to one of 15 community volunteers and kept telephone contact with vulnerable people who were shielding and had no access to online services.
Dial-A-Ride: In October 2021 LLRA renewed its annual subscription to this flexible bus service which provides additional transport options for those Long Leys residents that are elderly or have a disability. For details see: long-leys.org/dial.
Recent events have included Carols at Cloverleaf and a visit from Santa.
KEEPING LONG LEYS TIDY
As well as twice yearly (pre COVID) litter picks, LLRA works with other bodies to keep Long Leys tidy.
WORKING WITH LOCAL EMPLOYERS
LLRA AS NEIGHBOUHOOD FORUM
Under the Localism Act (2011) in 2018 LLRA applied for and was granted designation as the Neighbourhood Planning Forum for the Long Leys plan area, by City of Lincoln Council. As such it has the responsibility to review the planning and land usage needs of the community over the next 20-40 years.
Since 2018 LLRA has been developing an “Evidence Base” for a 2021-2040 plan. Some may consider it dull “technical stuff” but this work is essential to ensure that decisions are based on facts rather than opinion.
A Housing Needs Assessment was commissioned from consultants in 2019. This 64-page report said circa 20 homes were needed to sustain growth in Long Leys over the next 20 years. Long Leys has lots of 3-5 bedroomed homes, most with gardens. However, there is a need for smaller homes for those starting out on the property ladder and for older people downsizing.
The Neighbourhood Plan 2021-2040 was put on hold in 2019, as local planners were unable to give certainty on Long Leys area housing allocations. In 2021, 166 acres of land for 1,600 homes on farmland was considered for housing allocations and eventually rejected by the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee. However, one site behind the allotments (COL/CAR/002) was considered as a “good alternative” for 507 homes. Should other sites in Central Lincolnshire not become available it could be back in play. LLRA continues to plan its own response for this potential development, on land, primarily owned by City of Lincoln Council.
MANAGEMENT OF GREEN SPACES
Using local volunteer resource and expertise, parts of Long Leys have already been reviewed, with a 31-page report covering the Burton Ridge. Some of the report’s recommendations have already been implemented:
- £150,000 Whittons Park playpark upgrade
- A management agreement with the city council on part of Hobblers Hole to improve path access and improve a pond for amphibian breeding.
£150,000 PLAYPARK UPGRADE
HOBBLERS HOLE POND RECOVERY
All residents or others whose primary dwelling is within the Long Leys Neighbourhood Plan area defined above are automatically eligible to be FULL VOTING MEMBERS of the Association for as long as that condition applies.
THE AIMS OF THE ASSOCIATION ARE:
- To represent all individuals who live, spend their leisure time, work, or do business within the area.
- To promote and exercise individuals’ rights, the maintenance and improvement of their amenities and environment, and their economic and social wellbeing.
- To encourage recreation and social activities within the area.
- To uphold equal opportunities and to work for good relations among all individuals and other members of the community.
- To represent the interests of the community in consultation with other bodies, and to maintain effective working relationships with elected members of other bodies representing all or any part of the area.
- To work alongside other organisations representing areas in which LLRA has a common interest, including but not limited to West Common. LLRA will exercise that specific interest as a participant in the Lincoln Commons Advisory Panel, and otherwise, and with other areas as deemed appropriate.
- The Association will be managed by a Management Committee that shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The Committee will meet as required and must meet at least twice a year.
- The Committee must consist of a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and at least one other full member of LLRA. All Committee members must be full voting members of LLRA as defined above. Only one member may be elected from any one household.
- The chair has a casting vote if a vote is tied.
- If vacancies occur among the officers or elsewhere in the Committee, the Committee has the power to fill them from among the LLRA full membership by co-option until the next AGM of the Association.
- Approximately one third of the Committee members will stand down at each AGM, on a rotating basis assuming a three-year term of office from the AGM at which they are first elected. Committee members standing down on this basis are free to stand for re-election.
To view the full LLRA Constitution see: long-leys.org/constitution
MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE ELECTIONS
Like those of parish councils, these are often uncontested elections with volunteers willing to give up their spare time to help improve the community usually welcomed on board by a democratic vote at the AGM. Nominations for elections are generally required about a week before any AGM, so more formal elections can be organised if required when there are more candidates than committee slots available. The management committee needs a minimum of five and a maximum of 9 committee members. The maximum number is a practical limit, as meetings are held in homes, or during COVID even under car ports in the rain.
The management committee can co-opt additional members onto the team, where particular skills are needed. This was done recently to add a SID coordinator to manage volunteers and operation of the Speed Indicator Device. A Co-opted member needs to stand for election at the following AGM.
LLRA Annual General Meeting (AGM) At least 28 days’ notice must be given for the LLRA AGM to be held. Any specific resolutions to be voted on by the community are also published at the same time. LLRA’s policy is to hold the AGM within Long Leys. This maximises member turnout and avoids car travel. COVID has recently played havoc with this. The Discovery Café at St. George’s Hospital is the usual venue, as the largest meeting space available to LLRA but the hospital has been closed for public access since COVID began with March 2023 as the earliest opening date. However, there is recent agreement for LLRA to potentially put a marquee up at the hospital in September 2022 to hold the AGM. LLRA is currently considering this (more costly) option.