A flag of convenience? So-called ‘Independents’ join the @LincsTories ahead of 2019 District Council elections.

Grantham and Stamford Conservatives have seen a recent flurry of membership applications from town and district councillors and candidates. Most of these have happened just a few months ahead of the District Council election in May. What a coincidence, eh?

In recent years in Lincolnshire, the Conservative austerity agenda has resulted in the bedroom tax; the creation of foodbanks; the closure of youth centres and libraries; and numerous examples of botched service delivery.  However, in Stamford, three sitting so-called ‘Independent’ councillors have suddenly realised their political affinity lies with the Conservative Party. In Deeping St James, a former Independent District Councillor has come to the same conclusion and yet another Deepings Councillor is rumoured to be at the point of signing up for a blue rosette (NB. It’s not me!).

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Conservative Leader warns that @LincolnshireCC may soon be unable to “operate in a safe manner”!

Cllr Martin HillCllr Martin Hill (Con), Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, has appeared on Radio 4’s Six O’Clock news in order to criticise the Conservative government’s continued council funding cuts. He has joined other Council leaders in warning that, by 2020, Councils will only be able to provide the bare minimum statuatory services.

Cllr Hill (who was introduced as Cllr Wall) stated:

“All those other things which aren’t a legal duty will actually have to go by the wayside. And I have to say if the government doesn’t actually give us additional resources in a few years time, I’m not confident as a council leader that we will be operating in a safe manner for the public of this county.”

The County Councils’ Network has warned that England’s largest councils are poised to set out almost £1bn in new reductions to budgets next February – with residents facing another round of ‘unpalatable’ cuts to services – unless government intervenes.

In its response to a government consultation on funding for councils next year, the County Councils Network (CCN) warns that its councils will set out £685m in savings  next February to balance their budgets.

In addition, those county authorities say another £233m of ‘unplanned’ frontline service cuts will be needed – which have yet to be identified – unless government provides these councils with new funding next year.

In my opinion, the County Council is part of the problem. It is remote, expensive and monolithic. It should be abolished and replaced by smaller unitary authorities. I also think the Government should recognise and support the vital role of local councils in delivering front-line services.

 

A guide to the @SouthKesteven silver bin #recycling scheme (Part 1)

At last week’s SKDC Environment Overview and Scrutiny (OSC) Committee, a discussion took place relating to the food waste pilot scheme currently being run by SKDC in partnership with LCC.

One of the positive outcomes of the scheme appears to be a reduction in contamination of the recycling materials in the silver (recycling) bins. At previous meetings it has been reported that there is over 30% contamination meaning that an awful lot of what is recyclable is being sent to landfill as a result of people putting stuff in the wrong bin.

I used to work as a recycling officer at Gedling Borough Council but that was back in the 1990s and lots of things have changed since then, so I asked, not for the first time, for clarification of which plastics are welcome in the silver bin and which should go in the black bin. Continue reading

Interactive council cuts comparator

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During  a friendly twitter exchange with Lillian Greenwood MP I discovered that my predecessor at Nottingham City Council’s award-winning energy squad, Ravi Subramanian, is still messing about with spreadsheets. This is excellent news for anyone who wants to know how Tory austerity has affected their Local Authority. It only seems to include ‘upper tier’ authorities, i.e. County and Unitary Councils but it is still a brilliant piece of work!

Here’s an example graph comparing Lincolnshire against Peterborough. It appears to show both Councils have suffered roughly similar cuts in percentage terms even though Peterborough is significantly more deprived.

For more information visit Ravi’s blog:

via Interactive council cuts comparator

SKDC Cabinet Meeting in the Deepings

On Thursday 6th September, senior councillors and officers of South Kesteven District Council held a Cabinet meeting in Market Deeping for the first time ever. The meeting discussed the establishment of a new Council company “DeliverSK” and a revised Data Protection policy as well as taking questions concerning issues in the Deepings from a local ward member.

Coun Ashley Baxter (Ind) who represents Market and West Deeping Ward comments “For three years, I have been lobbying my fellow Councillors to hold some meetings outside of the Grantham offices. I am delighted that the Cabinet has finally found their way to the Deepings.”

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Report to MDTC Full Council – September 2018

Report to MDTC Full Council 12th September 2018
(from SKDC Cllr Ashley Baxter)

The summer months are traditionally less busy for Councillors but this month’s report is as busy as ever with lots of news from SKDC.

SKDC Full Council – 26th July 2018
Council ,26/07/2018

The Council discussed the following issues: Continue reading

@SouthKesteven Cabinet arrives in the Deepings; It has been a long journey!

I am delighted to report that the South Kesteven Cabinet will hold a formal meeting, open to the public, at the Eventus Centre in Market Deeping tomorrow (6th September, 2018 at 2pm)

Some people need to get out more often, especially Councillors, and this is what I have been arguing since I joined South Kesteven Council back in 2015. To be specific, I have been suggesting that at least one formal committee meeting each year should be held in each of the smaller towns i.e. Bourne, Stamford and Market Deeping. Continue reading

A brush with imagination at #Stamford Arts Centre

Josette Carroll

Today I went with my family to see the new exhibition at the gallery in Stamford Arts Centre. It is a collection of paintings, collages and small sculptures by two local artists, namely Josette Carroll and Vilma Nyss.

The exhibition is well worth a viewing especially for people spending a morning shopping in Stamford or a day at Burghley. It runs until Wednesday 26 September.

Josette was on hand this afternoon to discuss the creative process she uses to produce her diverse works which included: abstract works using mixed materials, paint and collage; sculptures created by recycling post-consumer packaging; as well as more representational interpretations of the natural world including chickens, leafs and trees.

The sculptures were created by taking cardboard, pressing it down with woodglue to make a thick block and then sculpting the block, using various tools ranging from bandsaw to a scapel, to create representations of Bohemian landscapes and other abstract forms.

Josette previously worked as a secondary school teacher in South Lincolnshire before ‘retiring’ to take a degree in Fine Art from University of Lincoln (based at Stamford). She now works from a studio at her home in Ketton.

Vilma’s works are less abstract but also quite diverse. The two styles complement each other across the gallery.

As well as the gallery, Stamford Arts Centre also houses a theatre, cinema, bar, cafe, tourist information centre and function rooms. The centre is managed by South Kesteven District Council.

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Josette Carroll discussing her work with an art student from the Deepings

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“Fish Supper” by Vilma Nyss