Report to MDTC Full Council 14th September 2016
from South Kesteven District Councillor Ashley Baxter
What lovely weather we’ve had this summer. I hope you’ve all been able to enjoy at least some of it.
SKDC Full Council
There has been no meeting since June. The next will be Thursday 22nd of September. The agenda has not yet been released.
The consultation on a ‘combined mayoral authority for Greater Lincolnshire’ closed on August 6th. I would like to thank the Market Deeping Town Council and local residents for responding. I have been arguing against an elected mayor throughout out and during the summer I set up a Facebook page and appeared on Radio Lincolnshire and Lincs FM to criticise the proposals.
The consultation turnout was a pathetic 0.5% of people and organisations across the county which is fewer than 4,500. In South Kesteven, only 571 people responded of whom 61% disagreed with the idea of a Mayoral Combined Authority. Lincs County Council and SKDC are now trying to interpret what they have called a ‘mixed response’ to an elected mayor (I would call it a rejection).
An extraordinary SKDC full council meeting on the devolution issue is being scheduled for Oct 24th, by which time hopefully the Government will have been able to offer a compromise.
I am pleased to say that the Local Government Boundary Commission has published its final recommendations for the Deepings. The Commission appears to have accepted the argument put forward by the Town and Parish Councils and myself that the ward boundary should follow the established boundary between Deeping St James and Market Deeping Parishes. The new Deepings wards will be called ‘Deepings East’ and ‘Deepings West and Rural’. A few Market Deeping households end up in Deepings East which means the Town Council will now have two wards, the smaller of which will be called ‘Swine’s Meadow’ (not sure about the apostrophe)!
This meeting took place on 1st September and was mainly about housing, car parking and polling districts.
On housing, it was agreed to set up a workshop session during October concerning the Council’s housing strategies.
On car parking, a proposed SKDC car parking strategy was presented and was roundly criticised by several members, not least myself. One of the recommendations was to dispose of the Halfleet public access car park near Coronation Hall. I argued vehemently that it would be unjustified to remove the only SKDC managed public car park in the Deepings. It was proposed and agreed that the car parking working group should have a further meeting and this will take place next week.
On polling stations it was mentioned that the new Swines Meadow ward of Market Deeping will need a new polling station. I suggested the Market Deeping Scout and Guide hut and have passed on the contact details to SKDC.
I am pleased the Council is planning to discuss the New River Retail parking proposals. This has sparked some debate on Facebook, the gist of which appears to be that shoppers will tolerate the 4- hour enforcement (if long-stay is available) but are very upset about the idea of any kind of pay and display.
I note the Council is paying photocopying charges of around £800/year. I can recommend a supplier who specialises in smaller organisations and whose charges would be much less (£240/year or 1p/copy whichever is the higher). I will pass on the details to the Clerk.
Apologies for not having attended nor sent a report to your Emergency Full Council meeting in August. I was not aware that it was taking place. It did not appear to be on the Council website or FaceBook page. Could I please request that I might be copied in to the summons or e-mailed regarding any future emergency meetings of the Council?
Wildflowers and play equipment
I was interested to read in your July minutes that Cllr Stephenson wanted more information and that Cllr Broughton had received complaints about the wildflower area. I would welcome any feedback on the scheme and would encourage Councillors to get in touch with me if they have reservations, feedback or constructive criticism.
Meanwhile, as stated last month, I intend to combine the consultation about potential wildflower areas around the town with a consultation about play equipment in the Deepings. This will hopefully be accommodated within the forthcoming Neighbourhood Plan consultation on leisure facilities and activities.
The local plan process continues with a SKDC Members briefing at Grantham tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Deepings Neighbourhood planning process is also making good progress.
As ever, if anyone needs any more information, please do not hesitate to let me know.