Report to MDTC Full Council 14th December 2016
from South Kesteven District Councillor Ashley Baxter
SKDC Full Council
The meeting took place at 2pm on 17th of November and was attended by 41 of the 56 Councillors. It was possibly the most friendly meeting I have attended so far though perhaps not the most interesting.
- There was a secret ballot regarding the Grantham BID (See below)
- A revised gambling policy was adopted by the Council.
- Once again we discussed whether or not to pray during council meetings. This time the Council decided it was better to have corporate prayers before the meeting rather than during the meeting (which has been my own opinion throughout the 14 months that the matter has been in debate).
There was a secret ballot regarding the Grantham BID (Business Improvement District). It was later revealed that Councillors overwhelmingly supported the BID (by 35 votes to 6) and in the public ballot of businesses there was also a majority in favour (189 votes to 164). Unfortunately, the votes are weighted according to ratable value and the overall result was ‘no’ (£7.639,050 in favour and £7,639,650 against). A losing margin of 0.004%! As a result the Council has spent £27,500 and all it has in return is ‘egg on its face’.
SKDC Communities PDG
A meeting took place on 18th November. It discussed Housing and Safeguarding policies as well as the possibility of sharing ‘front of house’ space with DWP and other government services. During this debate I drew attention to the stark difference between the SKDC services available to residents in Grantham and the unloved, minimalist facilities provided in the Deepings.
I am pleased to report that the idea of a directly elected mayor for Greater Lincolnshire appears to have been firmly defeated. Unfortunately, due to the intransigence of the DCLG, this means devolution of any kind for Lincolnshire has now been kicked into the long grass.
Deepings Community Trust AGM
As Treasurer of DCT I was pleased to present a report to the Community Centre AGM. The first since the merger of the DCT with the Friends of Deepings Library. The finances are currently quite healthy due to robust management of the centre and some very generous donations to the Trust not least from the Deepings Raft Race committee.
As mentioned to Cllr Collins informally last week, I am preparing an on-line survey for the raft race. It seems to make sense to ask similar questions regarding the Christmas Market in the same survey and share the feedback with Cllr Collins, the Clerk and the Market Team. Please let me have any thoughts on this by Friday otherwise I will assume it is OK to proceed.
I am happy to continue supporting the Christmas market as a volunteer on the day, but unfortunately due to time constraints and other commitments I am reluctant to join a Christmas Market working party. My suggestions for improving the market remain the same as I was suggesting for at least three years on the Town Council:
- Change the start time to Noon and the finish time to 7pm.
- Increase the number of stalls
- Involve New River Retail to encourage footfall through the precinct
- Involve local businesses e.g. through sponsorship of the stage or adverts in a programme.
- Delay the lights switch-on until it is actually dark, e.g. 5pm or 6pm.
For the avoidance of doubt, I am pleased to reiterate my intention to contest the new County Council seat of ‘Deepings West and Rural’. Thanks to our joint campaign earlier in the year, the seat includes the vast majority of homes in Market Deeping. If elected I will do my best to represent the views and interests of local residents to County Council meetings.
May I take this opportunity to wish all Town Councillors and Town Council staff a very peaceful Christmas and a happy and productive New Year.
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