Report to MDTC Full Council 10th October 2018
(from SKDC Councillor ASHLEY BAXTER)
I have attended the following meetings during the last month.
18/09/2018 Development Management Committee
The meeting discussed applications including the following:
- Nine dwellings on land Adjacent To Ivatt Close Bourne PE10 9TZ
I saved a tree! I actually did! This small development on the outskirts of Bourne required the removal of quite a few trees and shrubs. While examining the proposals I noted that there is one healthy ash tree in a corner of the site that faced the chop.
The Officer’s report stated “the trees on site are not considered to be of significant amenity value”. I pointed out that while they might not look like much to us, we might discover they have quite a lot of amenity value to the local birds, squirrel and hedgehog if only we could ask.
When the developer gave his evidence I asked if there was any chance of saving the tree as well as reinstating the ‘lapsed hedge’ which was also due to be replaced the feather-board fencing which is almost ubiquitous across new developments. To my surprise he agreed without argument. It makes me wonder if and why the Planning Officers hadn’t asked the same question. Either way, it was a good result and reminded me why I go to these meetings.
- Seven single bedroom apartments at Norton Street Grantham NG31 6BY
This applicant keeps coming back to the committee with similar applications each slightly different to the previous presumably in the hope that his persistence will, sooner or later, pay off. I am pleased to say that this time it didn’t and the poky residential accommodation proposed between the gardens of back to back terraced houses was refused once again.
- St Vincent’s House, Grantham
This was a notable for two reasons. Firstly, it was an application from a Councillor. Secondly the property hosted the control room for the historic ‘Dambusters’ raid by 617 squadron which changed the course of the Second World War. The application itself concerned potting sheds in the grounds and wasn’t very contentious.
This was attended by 38 of the 56 elected Councillors with 18 absent for one reason or another.
Only one member of the public attended and no members of the public had registered to ask any questions.
The Council decided to alter its budget for the year for two reasons: firstly in order to buy a piece of land; and secondly to establish a new company (an LLP) called ‘DeliverSK.
The Council discussed its relatively new system of Overview and Scrutiny Committees which most agreed is a ‘work in progress’ with room for improvement.
As part of Members’ questions I asked the Cabinet Member for Growth and Communications whether paying £140,000/annum for a consultant with no job description, written contract or responsibility for managing staff is good practice in procurement and good value for money. The Cabinet Member responded that she felt my repeated questions on the issue were boring and accused me of harbouring a personal vendetta.
There were two Motions. The first concerned the Council’s approach to modern slavery and was proposed by Cllr Phil Dilks (Lab), the motion was amended and then passed. I proposed the second which argued for more transparency of Members Workshops and Briefings which was defeated.
02/10/2018 Shareholder Committee
As usual, most of the proceedings of the Shareholder committee took place ‘in camera’ and so I am not allowed to tell you what happened. Take my word for it, it wasn’t a very exciting meeting.
Two years ago, when the Committee was first set up, a lot of time was spent deciding what would be the best name for the company and Gravitas Housing Ltd was chosen. This decision has now been overturned!
As ever, if you need more information on anything within this report, please do get in touch.
Finally, may I take this opportunity to record my thanks to the outgoing Town Clerk, Mrs Candace Brent, and to her husband for all they have done for the Deepings over the years. I wish them both all the very best for the future.
Cllr Ashley Baxter
Market and West Deeping Ward