News and events
Find out what I've been working on in the city and the events I'm holding.
Review of the Year 2016
This year began with a sporting milestone, with the opening of the Leicester Riders’ new community arena in January; and it will end with one – as Mark Selby, the Jester from Leicester - celebrates becoming the UK and world snooker champion for the second time.
Somewhere in-between, for several incredible, exhilarating months, the whole world watched our football team as they held on to their place at the top of the Premier League and steadily beat off the big clubs to become English football champions.
Looking back to when we buried King Richard lll in March 2015, it felt then like there could never be another event in our city to match it in our lifetime.
But in 2016, a much bigger global audience was turning its attention to our city. The international media flocked here in droves to see the home of LCFC, the band of brothers who were showing us all just what hard work and commitment could achieve.
From Australia to Africa, from New York to Norway, people wanted to follow the rise of the Foxes and learn more about the city they called home.
In the past I’ve talked about how Leicester needed to be more self-confident: to be proud of its past and to shout about what makes it great. When LCFC won the Premier League title in May, the city’s pride shone through.
When we hosted the party to end all parties on Victoria Park just one week later, civic pride had burst through the stratosphere. When I said we would be having a party and everyone was invited – I have to say I didn’t expect them all to come – but 250,000 people did, and we all loved every minute.
As the goals were banging in over those few months, there were lots more exciting things happening the city: In January we held a reception to thank the many volunteers who had helped us to host our Rugby World Cup matches the previous year; and work began on £1.7m of improvements on Welford Road.
In February, St Mary’s Fields primary school - one of many primary schools where we have invested to increase the numbers of pupil places available – celebrated the completion of its £4.2 million extension.
In March we opened the Friars Mill building, where an impressive restoration has transformed the burnt out, Grade ll former factory building into stunning new offices. Then in April we unveiled planned improvements for Jewry Wall Museum.
On a glorious afternoon in May we saw LCFC crowned champions of England, and the very next day opened our impressive new bus station at the Haymarket.
Our efforts to improve children’s dental health through our Healthy Teeth, Happy Smiles programme were judged to be paying off later in May, when Public Health England announced an 8 per cent reduction in city children’s tooth decay.
Determined to commemorate LCFC’s historic win, our museums staff worked day and night to create the incredible Fearless Foxes exhibition, which opened at New Walk Museum in June. Before it closed in October, more than 100,000 people had walked through its doors.
A massive £10.9 million programme of work to replace all of the street lights in the city with energy-efficient LED lamps was completed in July. Then in August we put forward a £2.2 million package of proposals to improve parking in the city.
In September we welcomed visitors from Porto to the first Champions’ League match we had ever hosted, and set the pattern for the warm welcome we gave to the thousands of fans who followed from Copenhagen and Bruges. We also secured the land for a new national railway museum that’s due to open in 2019 at the Great Central Railway.
Our internationally-renowned Diwali festival was acclaimed as the brightest and best ever in October.
In November we announced the next phase of work to achieve the biggest ever expansion of our secondary schools, with £45 million set aside to create another 2,500 pupil places.
Earlier this month I set out some our aims for the future, including targets to attract £50 million of new investment into the city and create 4,000 new jobs. My Economic Action Plan sets out ambitious goals for the next four years, including a target to build almost 7,000 new homes.
In the face of savage government cuts – the worst I have ever seen in my 40 years in politics – there is no doubt that we will have to continue to take difficult decisions over the next year and beyond.
But as a thriving, confident city we are far better equipped to deal with them than many others. As we look to the New Year it’s important that we build on the strong partnerships we have worked hard to create, and encourage others to share our ambition to see Leicester prosper and grow.
Here’s to a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year.
City Mayor Question Time
My latest City Mayor Question Time event took place on Wednesday 14 December at City Hall, in partnership with BBC Radio Leicester. You can listen to the event in full by following the link above.
I held my second Twitter Q&A session on Wednesday 13 July. You can see a transcript on Storify.