Magna Park: big plus, little minus

Philip Toye welcomes the new Lutterworth Mayor Anthony Hirons.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Philip Toye welcomes the new Lutterworth Mayor Anthony Hirons.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Magna Park has been a big bonus for Lutterworth and the whole of Harborough district, but the town needs to keep a close eye on expansion plans.

That is the view of new Lutterworth Mayor Cllr Tony Hirons, speaking to the Lutterworth Mail this week.

“We have the lowest unemployment rate in Leicestershire here - and that’s down to Magna Park,” said Cllr Hirons.

“And the business rates from Magna Park make up a sizeable proportion of the Harborough District council’s budget.

“But if you ask me ‘do I welcome Magna Park expansion plans or am I wary of them?’, the honest answer is a little bit of both.”

He said the town should welcome Magna Park, but not uncritically.

“There are issues with lorries and with employee traffic and we are hearing from some of the local parish councils about traffic cutting through their villages,” he said.

Lutterworth born-and-bred Cllr Hirons is starting his second spell as the town’s Mayor “because I’m a glutton for punishment”. He was also the Mayor in 2011.

He said he would be looking to raise money for two causes during his Mayoral year.

The first is for a shelter and benches in the town’s proposed new cemetery off Brookfield Way.

The second is Lutterworth Community First Responders, trained local volunteers who provide life saving treatment to the critically injured or ill before an ambulance arrives.

He said he wanted to concentrate on two ways of raising Lutterworth’s profile in the next 12 months.

One was to attend functions in Lutterworth and beyond, liaising with the district and county councils.

The other was to promote Lutterworth’s “two international figures” - the inventor of the turbo-jet engine Sir Frank Whittle and influential religious reformer and translator of the Bible into ordinary English, John Wycliffe.

“I think we can do more in promoting both these important figures,” Cllr Hirons said.

He added that the relationship between Lutterworth Town Council and Harborough District Council had grown closer in recent years.

“We have to work to keep that closeness, because at the end of the day, Market Harborough is 14 miles away,” he said.

Previous Lutterworth Mayor Cllr Philip Toye said his year as Mayor had been “a privilege, and I thoroughly enjoyed it”.

He said he had attended more than 130 functions during his year.