Report to MDTC Full Council 13th November 2019
from ASHLEY BAXTER, SKDC Councillor for Market & West Deeping.
Deepings Neighbourhood Plan
The Neighbourhood Plan for the Deepings is currently in its consultation phase. If you care about the future of our community and its built environment, please respond to the consultation. Comments are particularly welcome concerning the future of Mill Field, the expansion of the town centre and the types and layout of new housing.
Market Deeping Christmas Market and lights switch-on will take place on Sunday 1st December. There are more than 80 stalls booked and the entertainment is going to be varied and awesome.
Stop the Knock
Last year, SKDC used bailiffs’ services for non payment of Council Tax over 2,000 times. The Council also evicted 31 of its own tenants. There surely must be a better way… and there is! The ‘Stop The Knock’ campaign is monitoring council’s approach to debt collection and has some innovative ideas for reducing the costs and heartache associated with council tax collection. I have written to the Council Leader and the Chair of the Rural and Communities OSC and officers have informed me that the subject will hopefully be discussed at an OSC meeting early in 2020.
Meetings Not Attended!
In terms of Council business, October was a very quiet month with only 1 scheduled meeting. I’m not talking about my meetings, I mean that South Kesteven District Council only had one formal meeting which was Planning Committee on 16th October.
16/10/2019 Planning Committee
I don’t sit on the Planning Committee at the moment but I had already sent comments and objections on two of the applications which were on the agenda because I had asked for them to be ‘called in’ by the committee rather than considered only by the planning officers.
The first was the erection of roadside services to including a petrol filling station with ancillary retail floor space on the Langtoft roundabout, north of Market Deeping. – This was the second time the committee had discussed this application and I am pleased to say that the application was refused, contrary to Officers’ recommendations. Not a single Councillor voted in favour of it (although two abstained). There were a variety of reasons for refusing it including the loss of a greenfield site, visual amenity and highways considerations.
Secondly an application to allow the transfer of up to 75,000 tonnes of waste per annum at the existing waste depot at Unit 2 Whitley Way Northfields Industrial Estate Market Deeping. This was a County application but the SKDC planning committee discussed the application and resolved to “urge the County Council to give due consideration to highway implications including increased parking and possible adverse impacts on amenity on surrounding developments, particularly the children’s nursery, through odour noise, and other pollution that may result”.
The meeting also dealt with:
- Four dwellings at 21 Broadgate Lane, DSJ (Reserved Matters) – Approved
- Seven industrial units at Spitfire Park, Market Deeping – Approved
Meetings Attended (Climate Change)
Despite the lack of ‘official meetings’, I have attended two council meetings, on consecutive days, concerned with South Kesteven’s approach to Climate Change.
The first was a workshop for members of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) which heard evidence from the Environment Agency, the Woodland Trust and the Council’s own planning team.
The second was an inaugural meeting of the ‘Task and Finish Group’ on Climate Change commissioned by September’s meeting of Full Council. It was meandering at times but, on the whole, very productive. The meeting was introduced to the fundamentals of Climate Science by the external expert, Prof Edward Hanna of Lincoln University.
Aside from the meetings, I have been doing my homework regarding the council’s environmental performance. I have discovered that in recent years recycling rates have been falling due to a number of reasons mostly concerned with the Conservatives’ cut backs. At the same time, contamination of silver recycling bins has increased meaning even less effective recycling.
On the issue of the Council’s own energy use, officers are struggling even to establish a baseline. It appears that almost no proactive monitoring of energy consumption has taken place for nearly a decade. The figures presented have been incorrect and at times comical. For example, it has been claimed that gas use at the small changing block next to the all weather pitch adjacent to Deepings School field is three times as high as gas use to the Council’s main office in Grantham. On the positive side, officers are beginning to work with the suppliers and brokers to get more reliable information. It would be very difficult to achieve the target of 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 without any baseline figures.
John Hayes might be an affable chap but please don’t vote Conservative!!
Remember, it is the Conservatives who have turned off the streetlights, caused the rise in foodbanks, made the cuts to the Deepings Library and Deepings Youth Centre causing them to become dependent on volunteers and grants from the Town Council. It is the Conservatives who have chosen to cut budgets for schools, hospitals and police. The Conservatives have also failed to negotiate any acceptable resolution to Brexit.
As ever, if you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Cllr Ashley Baxter
Market and West Deeping Ward