At the last Full Meeting of South Kesteven District Council I proposed a motion that Grantham should have a Community Governance Review to enable residents of the town to choose whether they wish to have a town council. My proposal was criticised with a succession of weak arguments along the lines of: ‘we once held a couple of meetings a few years ago but no-one turned up’; ‘we think it might cost a lot’; and ‘you live in the Deepings so what’s it got to do with you?’ (I’m paraphrasing!)
The conclusion of the debate was the passing of wrecking amendment put forward by Coun Ray Wootten (Con) to say the Council would have hold a review only if they were legally obliged to or if SKDC ceased to exist. So, the Tories were able to say they were not against a Town Council in principle but would only vote for it in specific circumstances (and those circumstances would be if they had no other choice).
I’m pleased to read that this week’s Grantham Journal proves at least one resident supports the idea of replacing the Charter Trustees with a proper town council by publishing the following letter from Ann Wright:
“Once again the idea of a Town Council has been raised and once again dismissed on grounds of cost. It is interesting that this was proposed by one of our younger Councillors, Ashley Baxter, who in representing the Deepings appreciates how important a Town Council is to the prosperity and influence of the town.
Thinking of local towns Grantham people visit on a regular basis because they are recognised to be “better” than Grantham viz;- Bourne, Stamford, Newark, Melton Mowbray, it is striking that they all have Town Councils defending and promoting their local interests.
Grantham needs a Town Council to implement and promote a ”Plan for Grantham” distinct from the often competing interests of SKDC councillors who, perhaps rightly, are more concerned with the particular areas they represent rather than Grantham. The Grantham “Charter Trustees”, who are hardly better than a luncheon club for local “worthies” is not an alternative to a Town Council as it has no ”teeth” to do anything useful but nevertheless costs Grantham residents many thousands of pounds annually. What have the Charter Trustees actually achieved in relation to saving the local hospital, or the provision of the Southern Relief Road or, indeed, alleviating the traffic chaos suffered daily by Grantham residents?
Surely a properly constituted Town Council would be better able to represent the interests of Grantham residents in relation to these issue with the Lincolnshire United Hospitals Trust, and Lincolnshire County Council and these authorities, in turn, would know better where to respond. It’s not rocket science!
Yes, of course a Town Council will cost a few pounds more but for less than £5 per head every year we would have a formally constituted body with a clear remit to look after the interests of Grantham and to provide a focal point for everyone of Grantham’s residents who, to date, have apparently preferred only to moan about the “probable” closure of our hospital and the observable daily mismanagement of Grantham’s traffic by Lincolnshire CC.
Have our local representatives on the SKDC really done us a favour by voting down a Town Council which would cost each of us little more than the price of a pint a beer annually, or have they simply voted for “more of the same” – which Grantham residents will be only too aware is the reason Grantham is in such a sorry state.
Please offer Councillor Baxter your support in his quest to improve things in our town, and email or write to your Councillor and the leader of SKDC and let them know what you think. Apathy will never change anything so please stop complaining to one another and do something positive to light a fire under the complacent and ineffectual Councillors who have been the main cause of Grantham’s decline over the past 50 years”