Report to Market Deeping Town Council
from District Councillor Ashley Baxter
14th July 2017.
Friends of Mill Field
After almost a year of quiet preparation with Mrs Pamela Steel, Cllrs Adam Brookes, Pauline Redshaw, David Shelton, and others, I am pleased to say that a formal application has been made to Lincolnshire County Council for registration of Mill Field as a Village Green. This status would recognise and protect the fields important role as an open space for community recreation.
Now that the application has been submitted, the campaign to save the Mill Field begins in earnest and I was delighted to Chair an inaugural meeting of the ‘Friends of Mill Field’ at the Community Centre last week. Around 70 people attended and a steering committee is being formed for the campaign.
Full Council – 15th June
SKDC Full Council was attended by Caroline Dugmore who presented a petition asking for the urgent erection of barriers to prevent any unauthorised vehicular access to the Public Open Spaces on Tattershall Way.
Later in the meeting during a debate on the Council’s ‘Big Clean’ initiative I proposed an amendment that a third of the £400,000 budget be delegated down to Town and Parish Councils on a pro-rata basis. This amendment was defeated (partly because I hadn’t made specific reference to Grantham which has no Town Council and rather than amend the amendment this was used an excuse to throw out the idea of devolving funding). This is a shame because the Town Council could have put some of the devolved funding towards environmental improvements including perhaps a fence.
In the debate about the ‘Big Clean’ I raised some concerns about the amount of money being spent, especially because it is being taken from reserves, but in the end I voted in favour of the project.
The meeting also reformed the voting system at Council so that votes will now be via a show of hands. This means that everyone in the room will see how each other Councillor votes which will make it easier for political groups to see if their members vote against the group. Unfortunately it will make it difficult to record the actual numbers of votes cast on any issue. I proposed an amendment to use raised hands alongside the existing electronic buttons but this was rejected by the Council.
Congratulations to Cllr Nick Neilson who promoted during the meeting to the post of Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing. Congratulations also to Aidan Rave (his real name!) who has been appointed as interim Chief Executive.
This meeting, having been postponed due to the General Election was the last scheduled Full Council until September.
Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee
The second meeting of this group is due to discuss whether or not to turn off the District Council’s 3,593 streetlights overnight.
The last month has again been busy with traveller related issues. A flurry of e-mails, phone calls, social media posts and meetings have provided a commentary on the Council’s actions to persuade the travellers to keep travelling. The County Council were planning to take an injunction to prevent a return to Mill Field. Hopefully, the County Councillor will be able to confirm whether this was successfully invoked.
Meeting with Cabinet Members
Following an invitation to Cllr Matthew Lee, the new Leader of SKDC, at April’s Full Council, I met with Cllr Lee and some of his cabinet on Wednesday 21st June. We had a short tour of the Deepings briefly visiting many playing fields, the leisure centre, the skate park and meeting a delegation of residents at Tattershall Drive with whom we discussed the possible vehicle barrier. We then retired to the library where we were joined by a handful of Town and Parish councillors to discuss the Councils’ aims and aspirations for the Deepings. I am grateful to the cabinet for their visit and especially to Cllr Moseley for the subsequent follow-up work regarding the Tattershall fence.
Last month I reported that I have supported local residents in objecting to a planning application by Persimmon on the Phase 3 development behind Tesco. This was an attempt to abrogate their promise to create an open space. I am pleased to report that they now appear to be proceeding with the original plan.
I have asked the County Council why, almost five years after the Godsey Lane traffic light fiasco, we still have no pedestrian crossing by the Health Centre. The County Highways Department report that they are ‘in discussion with Persimmon’.