At each monthly meeting of Deeping St James Parish Council, the 3 District Councillors and 1 District Councillor who represent the village are invited to deliver a written or verbal report.
This month, I have asked for copies of the written reports and I publish those which I receive below.
Disclaimer: The reports below are not written by me, I am merely publishing them for the benefit of those who wish to know what’s happening at SKDC and in the Deepings. I cannot take responsibility for any errors within or offence which may be caused. However, if any factual inaccuracies or other errors are brought to my attention I will do my best to correct them.
Councillor Phil Dilks (Ind)
Report to Deeping St James Parish Council – July 2020
Thursday, 16 July – One of the most shambolic and farcical meetings ever of South Kesteven District Council when sadly:
- The Council’s Constitution was politicised by the ruling group imposing a party political whip on its members to steamroller through 40 pages of amendments to the Constitution.
- The Council failed to even adopt minutes of the previous meeting because no-one could advise which of two versions published with the Agenda were recommended for approval.
- A resigning chairman of a scrutiny committee was controversially replaced by a vote in which only one candidate was allowed – the nominee of the Leader of the ruling group (despite the Constitution stating at paragraph 6.5.5 that in these circumstances an election should be held).
Another staffing review:
Another ‘Corporate Structural Review’ is now underway following the previous Corporate Structural Review launched while Cllr Matthew Lee (Con) was Council Leader in 2017 which led to replacement of [almost] the entire Senior Management team: Hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money has been paid out in redundancies and ‘golden goodbyes’, with some long standing senior staff told they’d be leaving by the end of the week and given a lump-sum in exchange for their signature on a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
I regret that the Council is in a position where another staffing review is apparently necessary. The level of this latest review of the senior staffing structure has not yet been made public, but I hope it does not lead to yet another lengthy period of massive uncertainty and stress for our current officers.
Cost of Covid-19
The pandemic is estimated to cost SKDC some £3 million – it is hope there will be further financial assistance to local authorities to reduce the final cost.
A revised Budget for the current year is due to be considered and adopted at the next meeting of the Council in September.
Grants to Local Businesses
SKDC has distributed almost £30 million of Government grants to assist local businesses survive the pandemic. Following a request by a local resident, I’ve been trying to establish how many Deepings business have been assisted but I’m told those figures are not yet known.
We are still trying to ‘catch up’ with the backlog of planning applications. I have attended four site visit days since the last parish council meeting – this week’s typically involved most of the day and round trip of almost 90 miles looking at application sites in Grantham, Belton House Garden Centre, Toll Bar Filling Station (on the A1 north of Grantham), Horbling, Bourne and Carlby with the meeting to determine those application to be held virtually next Wednesday.
This month I also attended two Planning Committee meetings held virtually – each lasting the best part of a day, probably due to their virtual nature.
No Deepings applications determined, but I was pleased to be able to support the application for construction of a public art gallery at Grimsthorpe Castle to house a now private collection of national significance which will hopefully boost tourism and the local economy.
No dates announced yet for any of the controversial applications from DSJ.
Other Overview and Scrutiny meetings:
This month I have attended meetings of the Environment OSC and the Finance, Economic and Corporate Services OSC
This month I have attended meetings of the Environment OSC and the Finance, Economic and Corporate.
Cllr Phil Dilks,
District and Parish Councillor
30 July 2020