Report to MDTC Full Council 11th November 2020
from ASHLEY BAXTER, SKDC Councillor for Market & West Deeping.
Good evening, Councillors.
Sadly, once again we are in ‘lockdown’ and so the Town Council meeting will once again take place via Zoom.
A very busy month at South Kesteven District Council. I will try to bring you the edited highlights beginning with some planning matters.
I am delighted to report that the SKDC Planning Committee refused the application from Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) to build 260 on the old showground at Millfield Road. This is the latest episode in LCC’s quest to squander Market Deeping’s last remaining accessible open space for the sake of a short-term cash advantage.
I attended the Committee and spoke against the application, as did MDTC Cllr David Shelton, Pam Steel who is Chair of the Friends of Mill Field and Chandra Mistry who is among the many people who have campaigned very hard for several years to defend the site from development.
This particular battle of Mill Field has been won but I suspect the intransigence of the Conservative County Council will mean that the war is not yet over. The next stage will be the County Council’s challenge to the draft Neighbourhood Plan which is likely to be heard by the Inspector next month.
War Memorial Decision
At the same Planning Committee meeting, Cllr Virginia Moran and I also spoke against an application to erect a 6ft war memorial outside Callow’s cigar shop. While we all consider it very important to honour those who fought and those who died in service of our country, the Committee agreed that this particular application would not be in keeping with our ancient market place and there was insufficient evidence of community support for the memorial.
The Deepings already has at least four war memorial including those in the two parish churches which were chosen soon after the First World War by those who bore the raw grief of loss of their friends and family. I am not convinced that a further memorial will assist in our acts of remembrance.
However, on this Armistice Day, I should mention that I accepted the Mayor’s invitation to attend the formal opening of the Deepings Garden of Remembrance which, as usual, was an appropriately decorous event.
Proposed Extension to Rectory Cottage
Planners recently considered an application to remove 3 mature holly trees at Rectory Cottage, Market Deeping. The applicants claimed the trees were damaging a garden wall. Working alongside the Town Council I tried my best to save these trees from the chainsaw but the SKDC Tree Consultant did not agree that the trees added to the visual amenity of our town, despite being in a Conservation Area and just yards from the cemetery and the award-winning Rectory Paddock.
Now, just six week’s later, the householders have submitted an application to demolish the garden wall they used to care so much about and expand the boundary of their property up to the public footpath. I have requested this application be dealt with by the elected Councillors serving on the Planning Committee rather than delegated to Council Officers.
BP Filling Station Appeal
I regret to report that despite representations from Market Deeping Town Council, Langtoft Parish Council, local residents and myself, the Planning Inspector has decided to overturn the decision of elected Councillors and permit the application for a filling station, retail premises and café to the North of the Langtoft roundabout. During the appeal process, the applicants altered the application to imply that it will be able to refuel electric vehicles even though, during the original planning process, this was supposed to be impractical.
This is a greenfield site which has not been allocated within the Local Plan and, as far as I’m concerned, will be a Trojan Horse for development of all the land North of the by-pass up to Langtoft. In the words of Joni Mitchell: “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”.
I was as surprised and appalled as everyone else to see the neon green bike rack in the centre of Market Deeping. As a regular cyclist I have never found any difficult in parking my bike securely in the town centre. It is typical of the remote and out-of-touch County Council to impose and dispose this facility in the heart of our Conservation Area without any proper thought or consultation. It is astonishing that they didn’t even consult the County Councillor for area and that she seems powerless to have it removed.
For ease of reading, my November report to Market Deeping Town Council is split into three. Here are links to the other parts:
SKDC Housing issues including details of the recent shocking audit report
SKDC Leisure issues including a brief explanation of what’s happening with the Leisure Centre