Report to Market Deeping Town Council
from District Councillor Ashley Baxter
11th October, 2017.
I have spoken to the planning officer and submitted an objection to the proposed hand car wash at Riverside Garage on Stamford Road. This operation might be appropriate elsewhere in the town, perhaps on the industrial estate, but Stamford Road is not the right location.
In response to a few recent queries about parking, I have discovered that in the last 6 months of the last financial year, Civic Enforcement Officers (aka traffic wardens) visited Spalding, Stamford and Grantham nearly every day. In the same time frame they visited Market Deeping only 3 times. I suspect they might be back quite soon, especially in the 2hr short-stay market place area.
Members’ Briefing – 18th September
On September 18th I drove to Grantham to attend a briefing for Members on the subject of the Big Clean and the Local Plan.
The first 40 minutes of the briefing was devoted to a presentation from Cllr Moseley illustrating some of the successes of the Big Clean. This left just 20 minutes to hear feedback from the recent local plan consultation which had attracted almost a thousand visitors to the ‘roadshows’ and over 800 formal written responses (including my own).
The feedback from the Deepings included a great many comments and objections to the proposed allocation of the Mill Field to housing and, to a lesser extent, leisure facilities. 183 people attended the consultation event which is significantly higher than the previous consultation. The events in Bourne attracted over 400 people, most of whom were lobbying against development which would be detrimental to Bourne Woods. Many argued that development should be allocated on to the East side of the town instead.
The most significant part of the Local Plan briefing was the news that the Government has increased the annual required number of houses in South Kesteven from around 630 to well over 700. This news arrived too late for inclusion in the draft Housing Strategy which is currently out for consultation.
All members who attended the briefing are permitted to claim expenses for the journey. When the allotted 60 minutes were up, the majority of Conservative members left the room to attend a meeting of the Conservative Group which was conveniently scheduled to take place elsewhere in the same building.
Full Council – 21st September
Bizarrely, the Full Council was only asked to make one decision at its September meeting. This was to approve the minutes of the previous meeting.
However, the meeting still lasted around two hours as members made comments on the various reports and updates which were presented. These included a report on the draft Housing Strategy and feedback from the now disbanded Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
This was followed by Members’ Questions and Answers Responses during which I asked the Leader of the Council for an update on the lease situation between: LCC, SKDC; 1 Life Leisure; and the Deepings School. The lack of any firm agreement since the centre was built in the early 1970s is now restricting public access to the swimming pool and other facilities during the school day to barely two hours a week.
Another Councillor asked for an update on the expenditure to date on the Big Clean. He was told that it would be inappropriate to share this information halfway through the programme. When I got home I submitted a Freedom of Information request asking for the same information.
Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee – 26th September
This meeting included another update on the Big Clean, this time with a one-page summary of the expenditure to date!
The meeting also considered the ever popular issues of how to tackle dog fouling and street littering. The meeting approved a proposal to investigate the possibility of engaging a third party enforcement agency but only if this was run at no net cost to the council.
Shareholder Committee – 11th October
Most of this meeting was conducted ‘in camera’ for reasons of commercial sensitivity. Suffice it to say that we discussed proposals for Wherry’s Lane in Bourne.
The Big Speech – 9th October
On Monday this week the new(ish) Leader of the District Council, Cllr Matthew Lee, made a speech to ‘the great and the good’ of the SK business community at Stoke Rochford Hall. He outlined plans for £40m investment by SKDC across the district. He sent me a copy of his speech on Tuesday and the highlights for the Deepings appear to be: a) commitment to another Deepings Literary Festival; b) a promise of a new office block to complement the Eventus Centre; and c) a new leisure centre to be operational by 2020.
I have e-mailed Cllr Lee to ask for more information about the schemes (and to say ‘Thank You’ for remembering the Deepings). I will hopefully speak to him soon about the likely locations of these projects. In my submission to the Local Plan I argued that the best place for a new leisure centre would be close to the Deeping Rangers football ground and adjacent sports facilities.
It sounds like good news, eh?