Report to MDTC Full Council 8th October 2017
from South Kesteven District Councillor Ashley Baxter
SKDC Full Council
The Council had its first full meeting of the year on 19th January. The main topic of presentation and discussion was the Lincolnshire NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). There has been much concern about the future of emergency care at Grantham Hospital and a presentation from Allan Kitt, Chief Commissioning Officer for the South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group did little to allay these fears. His message was that the NHS needs to change in line with technology, demand and available budget.
Mr Kitt suggested fewer people should be using fewer hospitals and that far more services should be delivered by local GPs, clinics and pharmacists. He said that anyone who were released from hospital after a single night’s stay probably shouldn’t have been in hospital in the first place. Most of all, it would be much better for everyone if people didn’t get poorly in the first place.
During the Q&A he seemed to say that if you decide to have a heart attack you should drive to the excellent coronary care facility in Lincoln and if you decide to give birth then you should travel to Lincoln. Two heart-attack survivors pointed out that Grantham hospital staff had literally saved their lives but this Mr Kitt appeared to consider such opinions as sentimental tosh. The STP talked about ‘managing the increase in wages’. I asked if this meant recruiting lower-skilled jobs and volunteers as has happened in the police, schools and library services. Mr Kitt replied that the item about ‘managing pay’ reflected that the STP assumes an increase of 1% per annum. Any decision, nationally or locally, to exceed 1% wouls result in a ‘financial gap’.
The Council meeting also discussed the proposals for a ‘Garden Village’ at Spitalgate Heath which I reported on last month and the impact of the Grantham ‘Gravity Fields’ festival won which the council spent hundreds of thousands of pounds.
There has been no meeting since June. The next will be Thursday 22nd of September. The agenda has not yet been released.
All Councillors were invited to attend one of two special meetings concerning the future of housing provision in the District. The meetings were held in an informal ‘workshop’ style with small groups of councillors discussing three issues and then returning to a plenary session. Topics of discussion included ‘Housing Delivery’ and ‘Independent Living’. The sessions were good-humoured and produced some creative ideas. Whether anything positive comes out as a result remains to be seen.
I am pleased to say that the Local Government Boundary Commission has published its final recommendations for the Deepings. The Commission appears to have accepted the argument put forward by the Town and Parish Councils and myself that the ward boundary should follow the established boundary between Deeping St James and Market Deeping Parishes. The new Deepings wards will be called ‘Deepings East’ and ‘Deepings West and Rural’. A few Market Deeping households end up in Deepings East which means the Town Council will now have two wards, the smaller of which will be called ‘Swine’s Meadow’ (not sure about the apostrophe)!
This meeting took place on 27th January with a relatively long agenda including the “Lincolnshire Health and Wellbeing Board – Integration Self Assessment Findings” which basically said Councils and NHS should work more closely together especially since no-one has got any money.
One item on the agenda was SKDC Car Park strategy. This is a document that the Communities PDG has been discussing for around 18 months including a few separate working party meetings. In September the final report was delayed partly because I was insistent that the insinuation of the possible disposal of Halfleet car park be removed from the document.
At the January meeting a final draft was presented but abandoned because it was decided the scope of the document was not wide enough and should wider parking issues within the District beyond those for which SKDC is directly responsible. I did point out that this is exactly what I had argued from the outset.
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
In response to a question at the meeting from Cllr Colin Gamble about Gravity Fields, I double-checked the expenditure figures.
“Gravity Fields 2016 was successfully delivered within the approved budget of £140k, with it also attracts £89k of associated Arts Council grant funding and £10K of other grant support, as well as over £10K of local business sponsorship.” So a total spend of around £270k.
More details of the festival can be found here: http://moderngov.southkesteven.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=19263
The budget for Deepings Literary Festival is about £20k.