Night of the long knives at Deepings Youth Club secret AGM.

Disputed elections are not just a recent American phenomena. Last night, the management of Deepings Youth Group (DYG) attracted criticism when two long-standing members of the youth club’s governing body were virtually defenestrated as power over the funds and activities of the organisation was further consolidated into the hands of a small cadre following a coup two years ago.

Members of the public were neither invited nor welcome at the Annual General Meeting which followed recent public controversy over the group’s funding.. This year, DYG will receive around £15,000 from the Parish and Town which represents about 80% of the group’s total income.

[Author’s note: I wouldn’t usually write about the internal machinations of a community group but the recent decision by Market Deeping Town Council to temporarily withhold grant funding from DYG demonstrated that people are particularly interested in how the youth club is managed].

The meeting was preceded by a kind of postal election in which each of the Trustees were given the opportunity to vote for against) each other. Anyone who achieved 50% of the votes was declared elected but those who failed to win the approval of their colleagues were unceremoniously removed from the Board. No votes were cast other than by the existing Trustees and there were no new nominees (other than those people co-opted by the Board since the previous meeting).

A few days prior to the meeting, Cllr Phil Dilks requested an up-to-date copy of the DYG constitution in order to ascertain whether the procedures for the AGM, including the election of Trustees, were being followed correctly. No copy was supplied to him. Nevertheless, it seems highly unlikely that the Youth Club was paying attention to its own rules because according to the Minutes of Market Deeping Town and Deeping St James Parish Councils, several were originally appointed directly by those Councils.

The meeting took place via Zoom yesterday evening and was Chaired by Jayne Reed who, at the beginning of the meeting immediately requested permission to vary the agenda which she had sent out the previous week. Miss Reed said she thought it was appropriate to bring forward the declaration of the results of the vote to the top of the agenda. She did not explain her reasons but the Committee agreed and the results were announced. The two Trustees who failed to gain 50% support were Parish Councillor Andrew Bowell (Ind) and Parish and District Councillor Phil Dilks (Ind). The Chair then asked them to leave the meeting and a few moments later they were disconnected by the meeting administrator.

Cllr Dilks had perhaps made himself unpopular with the rest of the board by stating publicly that he disassociated himself from the comments, social media posts and petitions which had been published when the October meeting of Market DeepingTown Council decided to postpone payment of a grant which had been earmarked for DYG.

At the time, the Council had a number of concerns about the financial stability of DYG and asked for clarification of some of figures which had been mentioned in the accounting statements provided by the group. Market Deeping Town Council’s representative on the DYG Trustees, Cllr Xan Collins (Con), chose not to answer any questions about the Youth Club at that meeting insisting that the Council had earmarked £7,000 for DYG and the group was therefore entitled to a grants for that amount. The decision to delay the second of two grant payments was voted on with the result 3 in favour, 3 against and 4 abstentions. The Deputy Mayor, Cllr Virginia Moran (Ind) used her casting vote to delay the payment.

After that decision, representatives of the DYG Board were invited to speak to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor at a meeting which held answer the questions but not before the Town Council, and Cllr Moran in particular, had been villified on social media.

Later that month, the DYG Trustees met, virtually, for the first time since Lockdown and Paul Hanson resigned as Chair. Mr Hanson had been elected as a Town Councillor in May 2019 but resigned unexpectedly in May 2020. He is the partner of a Conservative SKDC Councillor who is also a Trustee of DYG.

Jayne Reed stepped into the breach and took on the role of Chair. Miss Reed is also familiar with the role of a Town Councillor having been served on the Council on more than one occasion and having resigned in 2017 causing a by-election which was successfully contested by Cllr Moran.

At the November meeting of Market Deeping Town Council, the councillors voted on the DYG funding once again. This time there were 5votes in favour of awarding the grant, 1 against and 4 abstentions. One of the Councillors expressed the view that he had previously been in favour of awarding the grant but after seeing the vociferous social media attacks after the previous meeting he was now concerned about the suitability of the Trustees. This view resonated with the personal comments made by Cllr Dilks during the public open forum before the meeting,

At the time of the October meeting, at least one trustee accused Cllr Moran of holding a personal vendetta. It now seems that there is indeed a personal vendetta, but it is not the one we were warned about!

The reasons why Cllr Bowell was not re-elected are less obvious. Certainly, he is not hesitant to ask questions or express his opinions but surely those are good qualities for a Trustee? Until March this year, Cllr Bowell, a former bank manager, was the Treasurer of DYG but he resigned as Treasurer I think because of differences of opinion with the Chair at the time. Whatever the reasons for their removal from the Board, their early removal from the meeting meant that neither Cllr Dilks nor Cllr Bowell could ask questions about the Chair’s report to the AGM, nor the Treasurers report to the AGM, the first of which would likely be “Who is currently the Treasurer of DYG?”.

Miss Reed believes that the Trustees are not obliged to hold an AGM, let alone allow members of the public to attend. Consequently, when I asked if I could attend the virtual AGM I was told I could not and that only Trustees had been invited. Procedurally, there might not be an obligation to allow members of the public, funding bodies, local councillors like me, members of the press, parents of youth club users or even the many young people who allegedly use the service. The organisations that my teenage children are involved in are usually very keen to encourage parents and potential sponsors to get involved. Given all the recent public hoo-hah over the funding of the Youth Club you might have thought the Trustees would be only too keen to open the doors. You have to wonder why DYG are so reluctant to allow people to see what’s happening!

Footnote 1: As explained above, I wasn’t allowed to attend the DYG but I am confident that the information above is all factually correct. If anyone points out any mistakes; inaccuracies or even typos, I will be happy to edit accordingly.

Footnote 2: For avoidance of doubt: I am not criticising the Youth Club; not its staff members or the people who use the Youth Club; I have no problem with the aims and objectives of the DYG. If I have a criticism of DYG it is limited to the lack of transparency of its operations and the manner in which the AGM was conducted.

Housing Issues in South Kesteven – (Nov 20 Report to MDTC #2 of 3)

Report to MDTC Full Council  11th November 2020
from ASHLEY BAXTER, SKDC Councillor for Market & West Deeping.

Continued from previous post

Housing Matters

Last week, District Councillors were invited to a secret briefing about a recent auditor’s report into the awful state of the SKDC Housing Department. The report contains a litany of underperformance and compliance failures over more than a decade (Incidentally, the briefing was attended by all three of the Deepings Independent SKDC Councillors but none of the three Deepings Conservative SKDC Councillors)

The failures include the lack of an up-to-date Stock Condition Survey and the lack of up-to-date electrical and fire safety reports.

In June this year, in response to comments from Market Deeping residents, I personally requested details of the Council’s ‘Void Policy’, i.e. the system for ensuring that Council Houses which become vacant are quickly checked for problems; repaired; and made fit for the next occupants in a timely fashion. In June I was promised that a new Senior Officer was working on a new Voids Policy which should be implemented by November 2020. Surprise, surprise, there is not yet any sign of even a draft Voids Policy.

The Council also claims to have a rolling target (and budget) for delivering 500 new homes over 5 years. In reality, the Council built only 60 houses between 2014 and 2017 and ZERO new council houses since then until earlier this year when 14 single-bed modular build dwellings were completed in Grantham.

The SKDC spin-doctors will claim that the Council did build houses via its wholly-owned subsidiary company Gravitas Housing Ltd which was established to ‘disrupt the market place’. In four years, Gravitas has only completed a single project of 25 homes at Wherry’s Lane in Bourne, most of which remain unsold.

In January this year, Cllr Barry Dobson (Con) presented a report to the Companies Committee outlining proposals to find a strategic partner to support the delivery of new homes as part of the Council’s “strategic ambitions for housing growth and delivery in the District”

The prefaces from 2017 and the 2020 SK Housing Strategies. The text is identical.

Two weeks ago, Cllr Dobson returned to the Companies Committee with a report explaining why a housing partnership will not be pursued at this time but might be considered in the future.

Some of the staff responsible for this mess have now left the authority but some of the Conservative Councillors who presided over this clear dereliction of duty are still in office, for example Cllr Dobson held the Portfolio for Housing between May 2019 and January 2020 and is now the Deputy Leader and responsible for the delivery of the famous new Deepings Leisure Centre.

Hats off to the relatively new Chief Executive, Karen Bradford, and the new Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Robert Reid (Con) for grasping the nettle and self-referring the Council to Housing Regulator.

For ease of reading, my November report to Market Deeping Town Council is split into three. Here are links to the other parts:

SKDC Planning issues including details of the recent shocking audit report

SKDC Leisure issues including a brief explanation of what’s happening with the Leisure Centre


Footnote:
The Auditors identified the following 16 findings where management actions were agreed:

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Report to Market Deeping Town Council – June 2020

Report to MDTC Full Council 10th June, 2020
from ASHLEY BAXTER, SKDC Councillor for Market & West Deeping.

Leisure Centre / All Weather Pitch

Despite various SKDC committee meetings in February deciding to set up Members Working Group(s) to keep abreast of progress towards the Leisure Transformation strategy, no meetings have taken place. Cabinet Member, Cllr Barry Dobson (Con) reported in April (to DSJ PC) the plan for the new Leisure Centre in the Deepings is progressing well and that two options are currently being drawn up and priced. Unfortunately, the plans haven’t progressed far enough for any detailed plans, proposals or costs to be shared with anyone outside the Conservative cabinet.

What I have discovered is that leisure consultants Mace have been paid £284,000 for a report which has yet to be published. Evidently it did not deliver the detailed business plans which were promised because the Council has now engaged a new, thankfully much cheaper consultant, to make sense of the findings of the first consultant.

Next week’s Cabinet meeting includes draft workplan with an aspiration to consider Leisure Centre investment at the September Cabinet meeting. It is one of no fewer than twelve proposed agenda items for that particular Cabinet meeting so don’t hold your breath!

14/05/2020  Full Council

The first meeting of the Full Council was little more than a PR stunt and a rubber-stamping exercise. Motions from Councillors were not allowed and neither were open questions from Councillors and members of the public. Large chunks of the meeting were taken up with voting because every decision, even including approval of the previous minutes, required a roll-call of all 55 councillors in attendance.

During one of the votes, despite a quite labourious explanation by the Chief Executive, the Chair of the Council inadvertently voted against her own party and consequently the voting had to start all over again.

26/05/2020  Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

The Finance meeting spent most of its time speculating the likely impact of Covid19 on the Council’s finances. Unsurprisingly the general consensus was a pessimistic outlook. Income from arts centres; car parks, businesses rates and other areas have reduced virtually to zero while waste collection costs have risen. There are some unknowns including: the extent to which the Government will bail out Local Authorities; and whether or not the leisure provider, 1Life, will succeed with a legal claim it has submitted to the council for financial losses (the council is obviously disputing the claim).

04/06/2020  Governance and Audit Committee

The Governance and Audit Committee almost took place on 24th May but just after it started I pointed out that no access details had been provided to members of the public and officers confirmed that the meeting could not proceed if it was inaccessible.

The reconvened meeting discussed external audit reports which were critical of the Council’s medium term financial strategy and lack of a meaningful corporate strategy. The meeting discussed internal audit reports which were highly critical of the council’s failure to consistently follow its own procurement rules as well as various shortcomings of the council’s homelessness function. Thankfully some of the issues have been addressed between the Internal Audit visit and their presentation to the G&A Committee.

04/06/2020  Planning

This morning’s Planning Committee meeting was supposed to discuss plans for a waterski and touring caravan facility in Tallington. Unfortunately, at the very last moment, it was decided to defer the item until after a site visit could take place.

Other News

Many, many thanks are due to all the volunteers and organisations who are supporting local residents and businesses through Covid lockdown. The Deepings Round Table deserve a special mention and I am happy to be one of three Deepings Councillors who have allocated a total a thousand pounds from SKDC Community Funds towards their ongoing costs.

Finally, it is sadness that I report the passing of my friend, and former Town Councillor Roy Bell. Roy was Deputy Mayor in 2010-11 and did loads of work with the Council’s Summer Playscheme. He passed on yesterday after a long struggle with cancer. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Cllr Ashley Baxter
Market and West Deeping Ward



Report to Market Deeping Town Council – February 2020

Report to MDTC Full Council 12th February, 2020
from ASHLEY BAXTER, SKDC Councillor for Market & West Deeping.

Deeping Shorts – Film Festival

‘Deeping Shorts’ – a short festival of short films – has held two Saturday evening cinema screenings with two more to go (15th and 22nd February). The screenings have been well attended and well received. Tickets are £5 from Stamford Arts Centre or at Open Door Baptist Church on the night.

Leisure Centre / All Weather Pitch

News about the proposed Deepings Leisure Centre and the future of the condemned All Weather Pitch has failed to yield any concrete proposals (nor proposals for concrete). At Full Council, the new Portfolio Holder, Cllr Barry Dobson stated that a Working Party would be formed with representation from the 3 Deepings Independent Councillors. By the time of the Finance Committee a week later, this Working Party had been extended to include two Deeping Conservatives. A few minutes later, it was explained that the Working Party would be an overarching group for all Leisure Facilities in South Kesteven. When I asked for clarification, the Finance Committee was told there will be more than one Working Party. I later asked Cllr Dobson for written clarification of the roles, purpose and composition of the working party (or parties). A week later and I am still waiting.

Cllr Dobson also mentioned that nothing would be decided about Leisure Centres until he had visited the sites personally to see what was needed. This is slightly confusing given that the council has commissioned leisure professionals an architects to conduct feasibility studies at a cost of more than £250,000.

14/01/2020         Budget – Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee            

Lots of talk about the Conservative’s Pie-in-the-Sky thinking for next year’s expenditure.

16/01/2020   Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee

I am pleased to say the Communities Committee agreed to implement some of the measures recommended by the ‘Stop the Knock’ campaign which I had brought to their attention.

I am less pleased to say that they rubber-stamped proposals to ‘rationalise the face-to-face customer service provision’ in Stamford and the Deepings. This effectively means closing the SKDC offices at the Deepings Community Centre and at Maiden Lane in Stamford.

There is a consultation about the plans to close the Stamford and Deeping SKDC offices. The deadline is 20th February.

30/01/2020   Council

The Council meeting began with a silence in respectful memory of former Chair of SKDC, Cllr Peter Speigl and former Chair of the world’s longest running radio panel show and much-loved Grantham born entertainer, Nicholas Parsons CBE. The silence was, suitably, just a minute. It would have been great if all the afternoon’s debate could have been conducted without hesitation, repetition or deviation but this was unlikely from the outset.

Grantham favourite child – Nicholas Parsons
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Report to Market Deeping Town Council – January 2020

Report to MDTC Full Council  15th January 2020
from ASHLEY BAXTER, SKDC Councillor for Market & West Deeping.

Happy New Year to all Town and Parish Councillors, residents of the Deepings anyone else who is takin the time to read this. I hope your 2020 is splendid!

Climate Emergency

Regular readers will know that the Council (SKDC) declared a climate emergency in September 2019. SKDC has now appointed a Climate Change Officer and have also begun a set of ‘Task and Finish’ workshops and engaged the Carbon Trust to assist with compiling baseline data to ensure a meaningful Action Plan is delivered.

Saturday Market

The market which was launched with much fanfare by InvestSK at Easter last year has struggled against inclement weather and lack of budget which has led to a spiral of decline with few stalls leading to few customers and vice versa. The last stall threw in the towel just before Christmas (and hats off to the Brown Bread stall for sticking it out for so long) and, in light of the lack of any traders, SKDC have decided to cease trading until later this year. It is not clear whether the Spring will bring a revived Saturday market or a relocation of the ongoing Wednesday market, or neither, or both.

Deeping Shorts – Film Festival

The Open Door Baptist Church is hosting ‘Deeping Shorts’ – a short festival of short films – on the first four Saturday evenings in February. It has been organised in association with the help and support of InvestSK/SKDC and will make use of the cinema screen originally purchased for the Deepings Arts Group. The films have been collated from 17 different countries and include a range of comedies, animations and thought provoking works. Many have won awards. Tickets are £5 from Stamford Arts Centre or at ODBC on the night. Here’s an excerpt from one of the films…

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Report to Market Deeping Town Council – December 2019

Report to MDTC Full Council  11th December 2019
from ASHLEY BAXTER, SKDC Councillor for Market & West Deeping.

Christmas Market

Undoubtedly the highlight of the month. This year’s Market Deeping Christmas Market was the best ever. I was pleased to be involved, once again, in organising the entertainments. It was a bit scary to find, at 10am, that the stage hadn’t arrived but some nifty reversing by the driver meant the show could go on with just a couple of amendments to the schedule.  I was also delighted to be involved in planning the ‘pop-up nativity’ which integrated the traditional stories of Christmas with the town’s traditional celebration of Christmas.

Meetings Attended!

19/11/2019   Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

A distinct feeling of déjà vu at this meeting when, yet again, the report of performance indicators were criticised for being presented without any context.

I really don’t understand the problem as I have been able to find the historic data relating to each of the KPIs. Here is a graph showing the increase in the numbers of households in temporary accommodation (aka homeless) in South Kesteven.

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Report to Market Deeping Town Council – November 2019

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.

Deepings Neighbourhood Plan is at the public consultation stage

Christmas Market

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.

Young musicians performing at the 2018 Christmas Market

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.

General Election

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



Report to Market Deeping Town Council – October 2019

Report to MDTC Full Council  9th October 2019
from ASHLEY BAXTER, SKDC Councillor for Market & West Deeping.

Meetings Attended (and Not Attended!)

17/09/2019   Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee  

This was a meeting where we discussed the Council’s approach to Climate Change. I had already proposed a Climate Emergency motion to Full Council (see below) but Cllr Peter Moseley (Con) also proposed a similar idea. The OSC discussed the idea of setting up a ‘Task and Finish’ group on Climate Change. This is definitely a different forum to the ongoing secret workshops on climate change commissioned by the previous OSC meeting. It will have 6 Councillors, 5 Officers and, at my suggestion, 1 external expert to offer an alternative perspective.

At this meeting we also discussed and (almost) agreed a new protocol for informing District Councillors about trees in their respective wards. This should mean that we should at least be made aware of imminent felling of trees by the Council even if we might not be able to save them.

The Committee also proposed to recommend to Cabinet that SKDC adopts the Woodland Trust’s Local Authority Tree Charter. If this sounds familiar it is because it is very, very similar to the Woodland Trust’s other tree charter which most Conservative Councillors voted against when I presented it to Full Council a few months ago. Happily, we have now reached an acceptable form of words and, because it is now a Tory idea, we should be signed up very soon.

The OSC also discussed progress on some other issues including the Food Waste Collection pilot scheme which has apparently been applauded by DEFRA for its excellent participation rate although they haven’t yet gone so far as to offer the additional funding required to roll it out across the district, let alone the county or country.

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Report to Market Deeping Town Council – September 2019

Report to MDTC Full Council 11th September 2019
from ASHLEY BAXTER, SKDC Councillor for Market & West Deeping.

Greetings to all Town Councillors! I hope you enjoyed your summer break. Here are some SKDC highlights from the summer of 2019…

Resignations and Appointments

In July, the SKDC Chief Executive, Aidan Rave, resigned from his post “to pursue new ventures”. Sources told the Grantham Journal that there was a “clash of personalities” between him and leader of the council, Cllr Matthew Lee (Con) which led to a “big row”.

The Council has appointed Paul Thomas as an interim Chief Executive. Mr Thomas has been with the Council for several years and, for what it’s worth, I think he is a sensible appointment.

Nineteen days later, Cllr Matthew Lee resigned himself as Leader of the Conservatives and de facto Leader of the Council. He did not publish any statement so we can only speculate why he threw in the towel after just two years at the helm.

The Conservatives met on 2nd September to elect a new leader. Deputy Council Leader Kelham Cooke competed with former Council Leader Bob Adams for the ‘honour’ and Cllr Cooke won the day. He is now almost certain to be formally elected as Leader of the Council later this month. He has promised a new more collaborative approach which would be most welcome.

Meetings Attended

Since the July meeting of MDTC, I have attended a few formal Council meetings.

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Report to Market Deeping Town Council – July 2019

Report to MDTC Full Council 12th July 2019
from ASHLEY BAXTER, one of the ten Councillors forming the Independent Group at SKDC.

I am pleased to report that, less than two months after the elections, one of the Conservatives has resigned the whip and become ‘Independent unaligned’. This means there are now 17 opposition councillors compared to 39 Tories. We just need 11 more defections and the Council will be on a knife-edge!

Meetings Attended

I have attended four formal Council meetings during the lastmonth.

14/06/2019   Finance, Economic Development and Corporate ServicesOverview and Scrutiny Committee          

This meeting was held to consider the call-in request that I had organised before the election in light of a decision by Cllr Adam Stokes (Con) to allocate money from the new Invest-to-save fund. Before the meeting I had submitted more than 20 written questions and I was pleased to discover that newly-elected Cllr Whittington (Con) had submitted some of his own. Continue reading