Students present ideas for Leicester to the city's most powerful politician

Leicester’s elected mayor Sir Peter Soulsby – one of the most powerful politicians in the country – met with DMU students to discuss their ideas to improve the city.

Sir Peter, who became Leicester’s first directly elected mayor in 2011, heard the results so far of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students’ 100 Ideas to Change Leicester.

The project, run by the Department of Politics and Public Policy’s DMU Policy Commission, will see students come up with ideas to improve the city, partly based on interviews with city residents, businesses, workers and community groups.

Last night students met with the mayor to present some of the ideas in the areas of regeneration, health, business and transport.

Suggestions included an Oyster card for Leicester, free rates for first-year businesses and copying India’s lead in introducing yoga to improve health in the workplace.

Hamish Shah, who presented on transport, said: “Bus fares are so expensive in Leicester, compared to other cities, and some villages and areas have lost their services. We would like to see them improved.”

MA student Martins Pepernieks, who presented on regeneration, advocated more green spaces in the city centre and free pocket ashtrays for cigarette butts and chewing gum to stop littering.

Another idea was to encourage more young people and the community to become involved in council business by holding council meetings in different parts of the city.

Sir Peter said: “I thought what they have are exciting and challenging ideas and I also thought the questions they were asking were – while they put them politely –ones that required me to think carefully before answering!

“What was interesting to me was the range of suggestions they were making, from the strategic to the everyday. I particularly liked the public transport ideas. I look forward to meeting them again at the council.”

Student Dhaval Vadgama said: “We were very impressed with him. He spent so much time with us and he seems to have a love for Leicester.”

The Policy Commission’s next event will be to meet with community groups in Leicester to gather their views. The presentation of the finished 100 Ideas for Leicester will be made to Leicester City Council’s executive team in March.

Posted on Friday 30th January 2015

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