Here is my monthly report as presented to MDTC Full Council on 9th March 2016.
SKDC Full Council (29th February)
Last month’s SKDC Full Council meeting was chaotic to say the least.
The principal item on the agenda was the Budget. Due to relentless austerity cuts inflicted by the Conservative government, local authority budges across the country are being pared to the bone. South Kesteven is no exception. This year’s budget had to plug a £300,000 gap left as a result of the County withdrawing recycling credits from the District. The likely increase in the SKDC bill will be less than £5 per annum for a ‘Band D’ household. This is in addition to increases in taxes paid for County Council, Police and Town Council services.
The Independent Councillors approached the Conservative Leader of the Council, Cllr Bob Adams, with a list of potential amendments to the budget but all but one of these rejected out of hand. The surviving proposal was to allocate a budget of £20,000 towards a literary festival in the Deepings. After all, Stamford Georgian Festival gets £70,000 every two years and Gravity Fields in Grantham gets far more than that. Cllr Bob Adams made it plain to the Council that he would not firmly commit to a Deepings Festival but would be happy to talk to Independent Councillors about the aspiration.
Later in the meeting the Council was supposed to discuss a motion I had proposed on Public Service services, outsourcing and transparency. Before any debate took place on the motion, the aforementioned Bob Adams proposed an amendment deleting the entire text and replacing it with his own words. This new motion was subjected to a number of proposed amendments before being defeated eventually after much confusion and filibustering. It was also bizarrely suggested that my original motion (to consider retaining services in-house) was a veiled attack on Officers of the Council. It most certainly was not.
The whole afternoon was a shocking illustration of the way the Tory ruling group continues to shutdown meaningful debate in the Council chamber.
Local Plan seminar (22nd February)
I attended a local plan seminar which suggested the Deeping need to find room for an additional 1700 houses (on top of those already built and/or approved). The consultation process over the next six months or so will be critical in terms of taking the opportunities and limiting the damage possible from development plans.
The library that LCC were expecting to close down goes from strength to strength. A disabled toilet is being fitted on the Ground Floor. I don’t expect say any more about the library in these monthly reports.
Despite the consultation, meetings, reports and e-mails, the Glendale contractor ‘accidentally’ mowed the entire field where we have been planning wildflower verges idea on Tattershall Drive. This may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as (surely?) they won’t make the same mistake twice and the grass should get a bi-annual cut in any case. The designated areas have now been clearly marked out.
Hopefully most of you have seen and signed the online petition I have set up to oppose the application for a ‘hot food’ takeaway and delivery business in the heart of the conservation area. It now has almost 500 signatures and has certainly raised awareness of the application.
Communities PDG (10th March)
I am planning to attend a meeting at Grantham tomorrow about sheltered housing communal facilities among other things. The agenda is here.
I have lobbied the County Council over the dangerous bend on Blenheim Way. The County Council continue to deny there is any problem there other than careless driving.
The final result of the LGBCE boundary consultation is due for publication on 17th May this year.
If anyone has questions please let me know. These reports are replicated on my Facebook page.