JULY 9 - A CONSULTATION document on the Leicestershire county plan for the local Olympic strategy to bring the benefits of the 2012 Games to the county has been welcomed but a critic claimed that it lacks the vital element of leadership.


Loughborough Councillor Max Hunt said: “With a short time to play with, we’ve got to inspire and create the sparkle to make things happen fast and with a sprinkle of magic.  


"Leicestershire is currently being led by ‘invisible committees and leaderless partnerships'."


The “Leicestershire Strategy for London 2012” consultation, which ends on August 22, is aimed at a vision for Leicestershire in the period leading up to and beyond 2012.


The area is expected to attract a major team to train there in the run-up to the Olympics because Loughborough University (pictured) has a reputation as having some of the best sports facilities in the country.


The draft strategy also sets out the plans to help business attract contracts, children and adults become healthier and sportier, and for a cultural experience as well.


But Hunt said: “No one will go the extra mile for a committee or a strategy.  


"Inspiration comes from shared ideals and goals.  


"To create that sense of working together Leicestershire needs role models and leadership.  


"These might be athletes, or achievers in other area – we all know of good examples.  


"They need county connections.  


"They could be political leaders, but those who are able and willing to take risks, recover from minor mistakes where necessary and step forward and be counted on major issues.”


County Councillor Sean Sheehan, from Forest & Measham, said that the importance lay in creating a lasting legacy beyond 2012.  


The Governments challenge fund for free swimming for Over 60’s and Under 16’s was a valuable step towards that and had to be supported by all Leicestershire local authorities, he said.

Hunt met with the delegation from Leicestershire's partner province over the weekend to ask how Sichuan Province was gaining from their Olympics.  


Language learning has increased with Taxi drivers all learning English.  


He said: "It is, however, doubtful whether ours will be learning Chinese, but can many of us cope with visitors who don't speak good English?


"The strategy is pretty comprehensive, but language appreciation training is one thing we might also think of."