On Thursday 4th October, SKDC Cabinet will discuss the responses to the Residents’ Survey which took place back in May this year. There hasn’t been a survey of this kind for many years and so it is being regarded by the rejuvenated Conservative administration as a baseline from which improvement can be objectively measured.
A total of 1,466 people responded to the questionnaire. About two thirds were submitted as a paper response to a direct mailing of almost 4,000 residents while the remainder were submitted online. Respondents’ postcodes reveal that the survey is fairly representative of residents across the District (although there were more responses from Deeping than from Bourne, #JustSaying!)
The first few questions ask for people’s feelings about SKDC. These are summarised in the graphic below. It is clear that South Kesteven is a great place to live with over 75% of respondents responding positively to the question. However, when it comes to Council services people are more restrained. Only 30% of respondents admit to speaking positively about the Council and over half of residents do not feel the Council acts on the concerns of residents.
Grantham and Stamford Conservatives have seen a recent flurry of membership applications from town and district councillors and candidates. Most of these have happened just a few months ahead of the District Council election in May. What a coincidence, eh?
In recent years in Lincolnshire, the Conservative austerity agenda has resulted in the bedroom tax; the creation of foodbanks; the closure of youth centres and libraries; and numerous examples of botched service delivery. However, in Stamford, three sitting so-called ‘Independent’ councillors have suddenly realised their political affinity lies with the Conservative Party. In Deeping St James, a former Independent District Councillor has come to the same conclusion and yet another Deepings Councillor is rumoured to be at the point of signing up for a blue rosette (NB. It’s not me!).
At last week’s SKDC Environment Overview and Scrutiny (OSC) Committee, a discussion took place relating to the food waste pilot scheme currently being run by SKDC in partnership with LCC.
One of the positive outcomes of the scheme appears to be a reduction in contamination of the recycling materials in the silver (recycling) bins. At previous meetings it has been reported that there is over 30% contamination meaning that an awful lot of what is recyclable is being sent to landfill as a result of people putting stuff in the wrong bin.
I used to work as a recycling officer at Gedling Borough Council but that was back in the 1990s and lots of things have changed since then, so I asked, not for the first time, for clarification of which plastics are welcome in the silver bin and which should go in the black bin. Continue reading →
I am delighted to report that the South Kesteven Cabinet will hold a formal meeting, open to the public, at the Eventus Centre in Market Deeping tomorrow (6th September, 2018 at 2pm)
Some people need to get out more often, especially Councillors, and this is what I have been arguing since I joined South Kesteven Council back in 2015. To be specific, I have been suggesting that at least one formal committee meeting each year should be held in each of the smaller towns i.e. Bourne, Stamford and Market Deeping. Continue reading →
Today I went with my family to see the new exhibition at the gallery in Stamford Arts Centre. It is a collection of paintings, collages and small sculptures by two local artists, namely Josette Carroll and Vilma Nyss.
The exhibition is well worth a viewing especially for people spending a morning shopping in Stamford or a day at Burghley. It runs until Wednesday 26 September.
Josette was on hand this afternoon to discuss the creative process she uses to produce her diverse works which included: abstract works using mixed materials, paint and collage; sculptures created by recycling post-consumer packaging; as well as more representational interpretations of the natural world including chickens, leafs and trees.
The sculptures were created by taking cardboard, pressing it down with woodglue to make a thick block and then sculpting the block, using various tools ranging from bandsaw to a scapel, to create representations of Bohemian landscapes and other abstract forms.
Josette previously worked as a secondary school teacher in South Lincolnshire before ‘retiring’ to take a degree in Fine Art from University of Lincoln (based at Stamford). She now works from a studio at her home in Ketton.
Vilma’s works are less abstract but also quite diverse. The two styles complement each other across the gallery.
As well as the gallery, Stamford Arts Centre also houses a theatre, cinema, bar, cafe, tourist information centre and function rooms. The centre is managed by South Kesteven District Council.
Josette Carroll discussing her work with an art student from the Deepings
People in Grantham have been enjoying the cinema since at least 1916 when the first ‘picture house’ was opened by John Campbell. It seems almost that long that the Tories have been talking about the new cinema project for St Catherine’s Road.
A report was submitted to the SKDC Cabinet in February 2014 and in August 2014, the Council announced that £5million would be allocated to the development of a large multiplex cinema, restaurants and office space. The BBC reported at the time that the project could be completed by summer 2015. Continue reading →
A recent Freedom of Information request by Independent SKDC Councillor Ashley Baxter has revealed that at least ten jobs have been recruited without the ‘normal’ competitive process of advertising and shortlisting for the roles.
In several cases the new recruits are former colleagues of senior Conservative Councillors at SKDC. Some of the direct recruitments have been for very senior roles.
Cllr Ashley Baxter comments: “This is a disgrace and a scandal. Nepotism and cronyism on this scale was supposed to have been eradicated with the Northcote Trevelyan Report of 1854 and is contrary to every rule of common sense in local government.” Cllr Baxter is keen to point out that his opposition to the recruitments is not related to the nominated individuals, most of who he has never met, but to the principles of transparency, due process, fairness and equality.
Cllr Baxter has made a formal complaint to the council about the number of appointments. He believes that most, if not all, of the appointments might be illegal and in contravention of the Equalities Act 2010 and the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.
For Councillors in Grantham, the historic Wyndham Park is the jewel in the crown of South Kesteven. Most people in the Deepings have never heard of Wyndham Park, let alone visit the park, and I suspect they would be surprised to hear how much attention the park is given by the communications team at SKDC.
Please fill in the online Wyndham Park survey, regardless of how much you know about the park. It presents an opportunity to feedback to SKDC about open spaces in general and to suggest they might be able to give more attention to green spaces in Bourne, Stamford and the Deepings.
In the last 18 months, there have been around 20 press releases relating to events and activities at Wyndham Park including two relating to surveys relating to people’s views about the park. A survey was carried out in July 2017 and another is being carried out this month (July 2018). It is no surprise that no survey has been undertaken regarding the council’s green and open spaces around the rest of the district including Jubilee Park in Deeping St James and Greenlands in Market Deeping which are both owned and managed by SKDC.
Wyndham Park has been awarded Green Flag status, it has had a series of public events including forest schools, easter egg hunts, May pole dancing etc.