June 2017 – Report to Market Deeping Town Council

Report to Market Deeping Town Council
from District Councillor Ashley Baxter
14th June 2017.

Environment Overview and Scrutiny Group
I attended the first meeting of the new look Environment Committee. The meeting was attended by its members, most of the cabinet members and some other Councillors and Officers. It was Chaired by Cllr Mike Exton.

As usual, most of the questions, comments and suggestions came from me and from Cllr Charmain Morgan. Firstly, regarding the scope and workplan of the committee which was fairly nebulous and so I tried to ensure the potential issues for discussion are broad enough to cover much more than just dog much and waste recycling. I suggested the committee might consider a range of issues including devolution of the management of open spaces to a town and parish level as well as the Council’s attitude to hare coursing and other blood sports.

There were two other issues on the agenda. One was the development of the Council’s commercial waste services. The other was the proposals for the ‘Big Clean’.

The Big Clean
In February, the District Council unanimously passed a budget for the financial year 2017/18.

Since the coup within the Tory group, the new regime at SKDC has decided that more businesses will choose to locate in SKDC if it looks neater. Consequently, they plan to take money out of Council reserves for a big clean up operation to include weed removal, litter picking and graffiti scrubbing. This will take place over 12 weeks and will cost £450,000. It will be followed up with additional clean up teams working around the district.

The project will allegedly involve parish councils and volunteers but the Cabinet members at the meeting above were pretty short on details of how this will work. 

Full Council
There has been no SKDC Full Council meeting since last month. The next meeting is tomorrow afternoon (Thursday 15th).

The agenda includes formal proposals for the ‘Big Clean’ mentioned above.

Gypsy/Traveller issues
The last month has 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. Credit is due to Cllr Broughton for his efforts to keep the Tattershall site tidy, to reassure the local residents and to keep SKDC on the ball. I was pleased to be able to assist to a limited extent. 

Gypsy/Traveller meeting
At the invitation of a newly-formed Tattershall residents campaign group, I shared a platform with Cllr Broughton and Cllr Neilson as well as John Hayes at a meeting to discuss potential fencing to deter travellers from returning to the open spaces on Tattershall Drive. I am sure the outcomes of this meeting will be reported by others at the Town Council meeting. 

Management of Public Open Spaces
I plan to meet Cabinet Member Cllr Peter Moseley and Officers to discuss the possibility of devolving the budget and responsibility for managing land in the Deepings down to a Town and Parish level. I think the Town Council would be better at managing the spaces than Glendale have been so far. 

I have supported local residents in objecting to a planning application by Persimmon on the Phase 3 development behind Tesco.

I assisted in the organisation of the hustings hosted by ‘Churches Together in the Deepings’. I Chaired the meeting on the Thursday before the election. It was lively and entertaining. I believe it was the only public hustings in the South Holland and the Deepings constituency this year.

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