Report to MDTC Full Council 8th March, 2017
from South Kesteven District Councillor Ashley Baxter
SKDC Full Council – 3rd March
About 48 out of 56 Councillors attended the Budget meeting, although not everyone made it to the end at 5.30pm. There were no questions from members of the public so the Council moved quite swiftly onto discussion of its £12m budget. Some questions were asked by me and others regarding the detail, e.g. I learned that the Council paid out a 6-figure insurance claim last year. The Labour group tabled amendments to the budget concerning potential refinements to bin collections, highway planning issues and town ‘gateways’. After warm words from the Council leader the amendment was withdrawn. The budget was then passed (unanimously for the first time in living memory).
The second potentially contentious issue was a motion from Cllr Dilks (DSJ) concerning hare coursing. The proposal was to raise awareness of the issue and consider a Public Spaces Protection Order which, it was argued, would give the police an additional means of preventing and disrupting the activities of hare-coursers. An amendment was proposed by Cllr Ray Wootten which said a) the police should be congratulated on Operation Galileo; b) the Council should not be specific in its action for a PSPO (without a formal request to SKDC from the police); and c) the Council should not publish anything in the SK Today newsletter on hare-coursing. Along with others, I spoke against the amendment saying that it would be better to take tangible and positive action towards PSPO and awareness raising. After further debate the watering-down amendment was passed by 20 votes to 19 with 3 abstentions. It was a shame the vote was carried but encouraging to see that some people are clearly prepared to vote against the party line on occasions.
SKDC Local Plan Briefing – 3rd March
On the morning before Full Council, I attended most of a Members’ briefing session regarding the local plan (I was slightly late due to work commitments). The session discussed the planning officers current thoughts and progress towards site allocations. There will be no formal consultation on the proposed sites until after the County Council elections but Members have been invited to a further briefing session later this month to learn about the methodology and rational for choosing the sites which have ‘made it through to boot-camp’ as it were. I would urge all Deepings Councillors and residents to engage with the formal consultation when it begins.
SKDC Housing Summit 2.0
Tomorrow (9/3/17) I will be attending a session at SKDC to discuss the Council’s future housing strategy. This follows on from a similar session earlier this year.