Arguably the most important thing to mention this month is the residents’ survey which SKDC has launched to ask what local people think of the services it provides. Please click the link and fill it in.
Here’s some of what I’ve been up to since last month…
Shareholder Committee – 17th April 2018
This meeting concerned the Council controlled company ‘Gravitas Housing Ltd’. There was a very short published agenda which was expected to take place mostly ‘in camera’ due to the commercially sensitive nature of the debate. However, under ‘matters arising from the minutes’ I asked why the agenda had no mention of either the Shareholders’ Workshop which had been held behind closed doors in January, nor a revised business plan, nor any details of the potential for Gravitas to build new Council housing which was an idea proposed at a Cabinet meeting in January. I was pleased to hear some Conservative colleagues echo my concerns and Officers promised that these issues would be properly addressed at a future meeting.
The community litter pick had been postponed due to inclement weather. About 25 people turned out to tidy up the town and village with litter picking equipment supplied by District, Town and Parish Councils and doughnuts supplied by the Old Bakery in Deeping St James.
Environment overview and scrutiny committee – 24 April 2018
Finally this committee got round to discussing street lighting in public. After almost a year of meetings, it was decided to gradually replace the bulbs with LED equivalents. A Street Lighting Policy I had redrafted was agreed and recommended to the SKDC Cabinet for adoption. The policy includes a commitment to keeping the lights on during the hours of darkness which is a significant improvement on an early report by the committee Chair which offered four options, all of which recommended turning the lights off around midnight.
Representatives of the county council attended the meeting to give a presentation about the draft Lincolnshire waste and recycling strategy. Many questions were asked about the future of the green and silver bin system
At my request, the committee also discussed briefly the grounds maintenance contract which is due to end in February 2019. I suggested that new contract arrangements should be more flexible to enable partnership working with town and parish councils and also inform variations to allow pilot schemes for wildflower areas, fire diversity et cetera. It was agreed that the grounds maintenance contract arrangement should be discussed in more detail at a future meeting. The separate but related issue of biodiversity will also be added to the work plan for the scrutiny group.
Development Management Meeting – 1st May 2018
Planning applications including the following:
- An application for a 30-place pre-school nursery on Swallow Hill in Thurlby was approved
- A residential development of 11 bungalows on the outskirts of Grantham was refused, partly because there was no attempt to provide any social housing or to comply with the Council’s policy on social housing. The application was interesting because the site was defined as being in ‘open countryside’ even though it was sandwiched between a Volvo garage, a site approved for a large retail village, the A1 and Grantham itself.
- Approval was granted for six dwellings on the edge of Castle Bytham.
Full Council – 24th May 2018
The annual meeting of SKDC Full Council is scheduled for May 24th. I have submitted a motion calling for a Community Governance Review in order to establish whether Grantham should have an independent Town Council.
Annual Town and Parish Meetings
I was pleased to attend the Annual Town Meeting of Market Deeping on May 1st and the Annual Parish Meeting of Deeping St James on May 8th. On Monday 14th May, I intend to attend the Annual Parish Meeting for West Deeping.
As ever, if you need any further information please get in touch.
Cllr Ashley Baxter
Independent District Councillor
for Market and West Deeping