Here is my monthly report presented to MDTC Full Council on 10th February 2016. If anyone has questions please let me know.
SKDC Full Council (21st January)
Last month’s SKDC Full Council meeting was, on the whole, a shocking waste of everyone’s time. Firstly, we had a 10 minute diversion from the agenda for a presentation about the SKDC Coat of Arms (http://www.civicheraldry.co.uk/lincs.html) . This was followed by a presentation from the barracks just outside Grantham which was broadly a repeat of a similar presentation last year. We then had a presentation about the restoration of the Grantham canal, the first 10 minutes or so celebrating the Droitwich canal. Then followed a nail-biting debate about whether cabinet member portfolio-holders should be renamed “Executive members”.
Thankfully more positive actions are resulting from work outside of the meetings including a regular conflab between the Chief Executive and the Independent group.
Next month’s meeting (29th Feb) should be more productive as it will discuss next year’s budget. I have submitted a number of budget proposals via the Independent group for negotiation before the publication of the budget including: a) diverting some of the budget for Grantham Gravity Fields festival down to the Deepings for a festival of our own (possibly literary festival); b) modest financial support for local business clubs; c) A limited budget for support with insurance costs for community events (limited to £200/event). Don’t hold your breath!
Communities PDG (14th January)
This sub-committee of SKDC discussed enforcement priorities for the Council. It was agreed that the Council’s first priority should be the obligations which impact on human health, e.g. HSE inspections, pest control etc. Taking people to court is very long-winded and expensive which is made even more difficult by RIPA (the law governing the use of covert techniques by public authorities). On the positive side the SKDC website for reporting fly-tipping, dog muck etc is now mobile friendly and even easier to use.
Apart from my continuing involvement in the administration of FoDL particularly with regard to ensuring LCC keep their promises, I was also delighted to be one of the 1000+ attendees at the re-opening of the library on 30th January. VICTORY! It was a great event despite LCC, true to form, failing to deliver the basic essentials promised. Specifically, the computers were unavailable because they were subject to lockdown, along with the rest of LCC IT infrastructure due to a cyber-attack. One can only speculate as to how far the cyber-attack is due to the ineptitude of the infamous Serco who are also failing to most of their other targets for LCC back-office functions.
On hearing the great news that MDTC Amenities and Open Spaces committee have approved the wildflower verges idea on Tattershall, I have contacted SKDC who will now advise the contractors to go ahead with the scheme.
Planning and Highways
I attended most of the MDTC Planning meeting. There are three significant planning applications that I encourage all Councillors (and others) to comment upon: 1) Conversion of Towngate Inn site; 2) 240 house application on land North of Towngate; and 3) Conversion of HSBC to a takeaway pizza joint. Comments can be made to SKDC directly http://www.southkesteven.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=8170.
I thank the Town Council for putting so much time and thought into the response to the LGBCE boundary consultation. I have personally submitted a similar representation. We can only hope they listen to common sense rather than needlessly splitting the town down the middle.
I wish all Councillors a fruitful Ash Wednesday and a thoughtful Lent. I hope to bump into some of you at the Lent lunches being run each Saturday by the churches around the Deepings.