Report to MDTC Full Council 12th April 2017
from South Kesteven District Councillor Ashley Baxter
Tories in Turmoil
High drama at South Kesteven this month as the Conservatives once again face a Civil War.
Cllr Bob Adams who has led the Council in a generally consensual manner faced a second internal coup led by two of the youngest Councillors, Cllr Matthew Hill and Cllr Kelham Cooke. Last year, Cllr Adams had held onto leadership of his Party group by just a couple of votes. This year he lost by a margin of 26 votes to 18. Technically 26 people is insufficient to hold a majority of the whole Council and so whoever is declared leader of the Council (rather than leader of the Tories) at the Council’s AGM next week will need to win support either among his colleagues or among the opposition parties.
The usurper, Cllr Matthew Lee, has revealed plans to reform the Council’s committee structure. These have only just been released but appear to put an emphasis on Overview and Scrutiny of proposed decisions rather than concentrating on Policy Development. The new structure also reduces committee size to 6 members on each group which will effectively exclude the small Labour group from the process and leave room for just one Independent on each. The Conservatives won 51% of the votes at the last SKDC election but their new leader is proposing a system that gives them more than 83% of seats on committees.
Since the last Town Council meeting I have attended the Scrutiny committee to hear the answer to the question I asked at Full Council concerning the fall in SKDC recycling rates from 49% down to 43%. The main reasons are: the six-figure gap in the waste and recycling budget left by scrapping of Recycling Credits by the Conservative County Council; the high volume of waste rejected from the recycling plant as a result of contamination caused by textiles and electrical goods among other things; the shift to incineration rather than landfill. In the subsequent debate, the first Conservative Councillor to comment suggested part of the problem lay in the attitude of the bin-men. Happily this was not the consensus of the rest of the Councillors present.
I have also attended a meeting of the Communities Policy Development Group, a second Housing summit and a meeting of the Shareholder Committee of the Local Authority Controlled Company.
County Council Elections
The long-awaited nominations for the County Council have been released. I am pleased to be one of the candidates successfully nominated and would like to take this opportunity to thank the various members of the Town Council who signed my nomination papers.
As ever, if anyone needs any more information, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Cllr Ashley Baxter
Independent District Councillor
for Market and West Deeping