A relatively short report this month as there are 84 days between the last SKDC Full Council meeting and the next which is scheduled for May 24th.
Secret Street Lighting Workshop – 27th March 2018
Another meeting took place, behind closed doors, to consider various options for reducing energy used by street-lighting. I was unable to attend this meeting due to family commitments and I am not permitted to share details of what was discussed during the workshop. The recommendations will be presented to the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee scheduled for Tuesday, 24th April where hopefully the issue will be resolved positively after almost a year of procrastination.
Development Management Meeting – 3rd April 2018
A six hour meeting discussing a variety of planning applications including the following:
- Outline permission was granted for 145 homes in Deeping St James. This is significantly more than proposed for the same area in the earlier Site Allocations documents but, even with the higher number, it appears possible to achieve a lower density of housing than on the neighbouring Burchnall Close and Campion Drive area.
It was encouraging to see residents from the Deepings travelling up to Grantham to express their opinions to the Development Committee in person. These people included representatives of the Neighbourhood Planning group, the Deeping St James Parish Council as well as Town Councillor, Adam Brookes. All spoke in favour of cycle ways and green walks on the site, as did I, and I was pleased that a condition was imposed to ensure a proper pedestrian and cycle way will be installed across the Northern and Eastern boundaries of the site.
- A disabled access ramp for Stamford Methodist church was deferred as it was believed by some councillors that a more appropriate design could be achieved.
- There was much discussion about a retrospective planning application and listed building consent for an extension to a 19th century dovecote in Old Somerby. The applicant was Conservative Councillor Peter Stephens who had previously made a similar application but for some reason it had been built 2m higher than originally planned, out of different materials and with a different configuration of doors and windows. This infringement had come to the notice of the council’s enforcement officers hence the retrospective application.
- An eco-house in Castle Bytham was discussed for a second time because the original planning report had neglected to mention that the site was in a Conservation Area. I had asked about the Conservation Area during the meeting and I sent a follow-up e-mail after the meeting which exposed the error.
Combined Overview and Scrutiny Meeting – 9th April 2018
This meeting was convened for the purpose of discussing the Council’s new Corporate Strategy.
Friends of Mill Field
Cllr Neilson and I attended a meeting with Cllr Mike King (Con), SKDC Portfolio holder for Planning, alongside members of the ‘Friends of Millfield’ campaign group. I found the meeting mildly encouraging in terms of the District Council’s ongoing neutral position, although it is clear that this site will probably remain contentious for many years to come. It seems clear that the County Council want to sell it for housing against the wishes of local people who regularly use the site for recreation purposes.
SK Today and Media Training
On receiving the recent copy of SK Today I was very disappointed that there was barely a mention of events or activities, past, present or planned, in the Deepings. I wrote an e-mail and a blogpost about the ongoing and lamentable under-reporting of the Deepings by the SKDC Communications Team. This led to a rather frosty meeting with the Conservative Portfolio Holder for Communications and Engagement along with a Senior Member of the Communications Team. The message I gleaned from the meeting was that if we want SKDC to promote events in the Deepings then people, particularly Deepings councillors, need to prepare ‘oven-ready’ stories for wider distribution and publication in SK Today, Parish Update and the weekly SK staff bulletin ‘Evolve’. After the meeting I sent an article about the DSJ Parish Meeting and ‘Making A Difference’ awards which I am pleased to say has attracted coverage in ‘Evolve’. Consequently I am hopeful that we will see more coverage of the Deepings, as well as the other smaller towns in future SK publications.
South Kesteven On Tour
Following my motion to the Full Council in November encouraging the council to organise some of its committee meetings in the smaller towns, I am pleased to report that the next Cabinet meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday 12th April at Bourne Corn Exchange. This will likely be followed by some other meetings when the Grantham offices undergo refurbishment later in the year.
The cabinet meeting will discuss a new resident engagement strategy which will set out how the Council hopes to engage with its housing tenants.
As ever, if you need any further information please get in touch.
Cllr Ashley Baxter
Independent District Councillor
for Market and West Deeping