Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Reprieve for Local Residential Care Home

Lincolnshire County Council has revealed more details on its proposals to improve respite and day care centres across Lincolnshire with brand-new, state-of-the-art facilities.

Closing five council-owned care homes is expected to save taxpayers one million nine hundred thousand pounds a year whilst those opposed to the scheme claim it to be "another nail in the coffin".


The proposal recommends the authority's homes in Lincoln, Gainsborough, Boston, Spalding and Louth should be closed. With the potential for up to two hundred and thirty jobs losses. But the remaining three facilities in Nettleham, Sleaford and Grantham are expected to see changes if the plan is approved next month.

Linelands, in Nettleham provides twenty-seven beds, including fifteen for intermediate care and fifty-six day care places per week. Under the plans, the number of beds remains the same, but the number of day care places drops to forty-five.

Protests against the changes have been taking place throughout the year. Mrs. Elaine Smith, who cares full-time for her mother, Mrs. Lilian Smithson, and has used both Linelands and Bonner House in Sleaford for planned respite care is reported in the Lincolnshire Echo as saying:
"We made it clear that we were not just fighting to keep Linelands open, but all of the eight care homes.

"It does not make good business sense to have spare beds available for respite.

"The vast majority of people who go to these homes have a carer and it’s another nail in the coffin for carers who save the Government millions and millions of pounds a year. It's appalling."
The Conservative-controlled authority says it costs nearly one-thousand pounds per week for a bed in its care homes. This would decrease to five hundred per week for a bed under a new system run by private and charitable companies.

The paper reports that the authority insists changes are required with the introduction of personal budgets, which provide people with more choice by allowing them to buy the care they want, rather than a council choosing where they go.

The county council intends that any monies raised from selling buildings would be reinvested in providing better dementia care services.

Leader of the Council, Cllr. Martin Hill OBE, Conservative (Folkingham Rural Division) is reported to have commented:
"It's not about saving money, it's about providing a much better service and much more dementia services."
The local Branch Secretary of Unison, Mr. John Sharman, said:
"We can see our campaign has saved three of the homes and we would say this is a partial victory."
Nettleham Parish Councillor, Giles McNeill, said:
"Local residents will be pleased that pressure from a number of sources, including Nettleham Parish Council, has potentially secured the future of Linelands. The County Council face difficult decisions in this area and the whole basis of financial planning for the authority must be being examined."

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Giles McNeill Resigns as Area Chairman of CF Lincolnshire

Giles McNeill has today resigned from his post as Area Chairman of Conservative Future in Lincolnshire in a letter to the East Midlands CF Regional Chairman, Thomas Turrell, copied to local activists he said:
"I would like to tender my resignation from the post of Area Chairman of Conservative Future in Lincolnshire. Owing to growing work commitments and the prospect of the considerable challenge presented by the move to 'all out' elections for West Lindsey District Council next year; I feel I am not best placed to continue in this role.

"I have enjoyed very much both of my Chairmanships of Lincolnshire and the successes that the Area has achieved in recent years to all parts of Conservative Future in the county.

"In the future I look forward to supporting you in your role as Regional Chairman & the executive team, my successor (pro tem), Mr. Robin Hunter-Clarke, and continuing as Branch Chairman for Gainsborough CF. The challenges we face in 2011 - the referendum on AV, local council elections and continuing to build a strong youth movement rooted in Conservative values across the East Midlands - will require hard work and dedication and the careful avoidance of side-issues which steer us all from our core objectives."

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

West Lindsey District Council Move to Whole 'All Out' Elections

Yesterday evening Conservative-led West Lindsey District Council voted to change the electoral process by which elections to the local authority are conducted.

Since the authority's creation in April 1974 the district has elected councillors by the 'Thirds' principle - that is to say that every year an election is held for one third of the seats on the council and in the fourth year an election takes place for Lincolnshire County Council. Councillors are elected to serve a four year term of office.


 
West Lindsey District Council is one of the two hundred and one local authorities that are part of the two-tier system of local government - with a county council and district council. Of these councils sixty-nine elect their members by the 'thirds' method, currently used by West Lindsey District Council to elect one third of the membership every year excepting the year when elections are held for the county council. The majority, one hundred and twenty-three elect their members in 'all out', whole council elections, whereby every councillor is elected at the same time. The remaining seven authorities elect by the 'halves' method where half the councillors are elected at any election, in one year the county council has an election and one year no election takes place.

 
The West Lindsey district is divided into twenty five wards the wards vary in terms of the number of councillors returned and a number of other factors. Gainsborough North and East both return three councillors, the South West ward returns two councillors together with the Caistor, Cherry Willingham, Market Rasen, Nettleham, Saxilby, Scotter and Welton wards. Finally, the Bardney, Dunholme, Fiskerton, Hemswell, Kelsey, Lea, Middle Rasen, Scampton, Stow, Sudbrooke, Thonock, Torksey, Waddingham & Spital, Wold View and Yarborough wards all return one councillor.

 
In total there are thrity-seven councillors elected as members of West Lindsey District Council.

Across the non-metropolitan district councils (both in single-tier and two-tier areas) in England twenty-four percent of the wards are single-member wards, forty percent are two-member wards and thirty-six percent represent three-member wards. (Following the creation of a unitary authority in Central Bedfordshire there will be six four-member wards for a transitional period between 2009 and 2011.) As a general rule a two-member ward contains around twice as many electors as a single-member ward and a three-member ward contains three times as many electors as a single-member ward.

 
Where a district council holds elections by thirds a third of the councillors for the whole council will be elected at each annual election. Electors in a three-member ward will vote in each of the elections, electors in a two-member ward will vote in two out of three and electors in a single-member ward will vote in one of the three elections. The particular year that those electors will vote varies from authority to authority.

As of yesterday's meeting elections for all councillors will take place once every four years - with the first whole council election on Thursday, 5th May 2011.


 
Some of the benefits of the Whole Council system are listed, although not an exhaustive list:
  • A Council has a clear mandate from the electorate for four years.
  • An elector can vote for the whole Council as well as a Councillor. It creates greater stability over the four year period with no chance (subject to by-elections) of a change in political control.
  • Greater propensity for change in political control.
  • It avoids a situation where political control of the Council can change in election by thirds when some electors in single member wards have no opportunity to vote.
  • All electors get an equal opportunity to vote and vote together (currently some only vote once or twice in the three yearly cycle if they live in a one or two member Ward).
  • Greater publicity for whole Council election may generate higher turnout.
  • Evidence suggests that there is slightly higher turn out in whole Council elections
  • Evidence suggests that electorate associates more clearly with whole Council elections.
  • There is likely to be reduced expenditure for the Council because of running fewer elections.
  • Correspondingly a reduced expenditure by political parties because of fewer elections.
  • Less campaigning needed by parties.

Friday, 12 November 2010

A Glimps of An Alternative Future

The violent protests witnessed on Millbank this week were a stark - and deplorable - illustration of the anger that's sparked when politicians go back on their promises.

Even supporters of the Alternative Vote (AV), such as Professor Vernon Bogdanor, recognise that AV would increase the likelihood of coalition government and therefore coalition agreements - party-political bargains made behind closed doors and never put to a public vote.

The Liberal Democrats made the pledge not to raise tuition fees a centrepiece of their general election campaign, but rapidly ditched it when drawing up their power-sharing agreement with the Conservatives a few weeks later. Broken promises like this will become even more common if Britain switches to a voting system which delivers regular hung parliaments.

Everyone share in the frustration with politicians that casually renege on their promises but the Alternative Vote would not do anything to stop this: indeed, it will only make the problem worse.

Those campaigning for a 'No' vote, like this blog, believe that politics should be transparent and political parties held to account on their manifestos. We share the bemusement of Labour MP Tom Harris that Nick Clegg was so keen to push for a referendum on what he had described as a 'miserable little compromise'. That's why you should say keep your power to decide who you're governed by - vote NO to AV!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Budget 2011: WLDC Consultations

West Lindsey District Council would like to offer all residents and local businesses the opportunity to have your say on how you think the Council should spend its budget for 2011/12.


 
As you will no doubt be aware, times are challenging for local government. With reduced budgets from central government it is critical that we direct our resources in a way that benefits our residents and meets their needs and priorities.

 
The Council will shortly be setting the Council Tax for 2011/12 and, as part of this process, we want to weigh up which services or areas should be prioritised in terms of spending. We would therefore like to invite you to take part in an event which will be used to feed in your views on how you think Council Tax should be spent over the next year.

 
As always, it is important that we hear from all members of the community, so we hope that you can spare about 2 hours of your time to attend one of these events. You do not need any specific knowledge of the Council to take part.

 
The event will take place in a friendly group atmosphere on the following dates and locations:
  • Monday 29th November 2010 at Scotter Village Hall at 3:00pm .
  • Tuesday 30th November 2010 at Saxilby Village Hall at 6:30pm.
  • Tuesday 7th December 2010 at Caistor Town Hall at 3:00pm.
  • Tuesday 7th December 2010 at Caistor Town Hall at 6:30pm.
  • Thursday 9th December 2010 at Guildhall, Marshall’s Yard, Gainsborough at 3:00pm.
  • Thursday 9th December 2010 at Guildhall, Marshall’s Yard, Gainsborough at 6:30pm.
  • Tuesday 14th December 2010 at Old School Hall, Nettleham at 6:30pm.
Attached below is the poster advertising this event. If you have any questions or queries please contact Katy Allen on 01427 675149 or on katy.allen@west-lindsey.gov.uk.

 

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

One-Stop-Shop for Council Services in Market Rasen

A one-stop shop for council services is being created in Market Rasen.


West Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire County Council services will soon be both available from the Festival Hall which is being refurbished.

Leader of the West Lindsey Distict Council and County Councillor, Cllr. Burt Keimach, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward & MArket Rasen Wold Division) said:
"The project makes sense because people do not always know which council provides which service so if everyone is under the same roof it makes things much easier for the public.

"There will also be substantial savings in running costs which will be particularly welcome in the current financial climate."
Building conversion work will include creating a new reception, toilet and interview room and this will mean closing the Festival Hall office of the district council from Monday 8th November 2010 until Sunday 2nd January 2011.  Cllr. Keimach said:
"During this period district council services, including housing and benefit information, will be available from the county council office in King Street.

"When the work is complete all the district council services and county council functions including social care and registration, will be available from modern and refurbished accommodation at Festival Hall.

"During the work, the district council phone number - 01427 676676 - remains unchanged."

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Giles McNeill Calls For 100 Hi-Tech Sandbags For Nettleham

Parish Councillor Giles McNeill led calls at yesterday's Nettleham Parish Council meeting to acquire a stock of special sand bags, known as Aqua-sacs,

So far eleven town and parish councils in West Lindsey have secured grants from West Lindsey District Council to support their communities and prevent flooding. Chris Allen, Public Protection Services Manager at the council recently said:
"We are delighted that we have been able to give grants to so many parish councils.

"The grants are being used for a variety of reasons including: clearing a beck of blockages, extending a culvert to stop flooding and developing flood risk management strategies."
The district council has £10,000 to allocate to town and parish councils, who are best placed to know and understand flooding issues within their areas. Mr Allen added:
"We still have a significant amount of money available which will be distributed on a first come first served basis.

"I would urge councils to apply for a share of the cash as soon as possible to make sure they do not miss out on this opportunity."

Cllr. Giles McNeill observes rising
water levels on Nettleham Beck
The Aqua-Sac is a revolutionary alternate to traditional sandbags for flood defence. Comprising a heavy duty Jute sack and a cotton liner with a patented centre stitch, containing a Super-Absorbent Polymer the Aqua-Sac is simply submerged in water. After five minutes thirteen litres of water will have been absorbed creating an inflated 'sandbag'. Fifty aqua-sac sandbags is sufficient to protect four doors from 18" of flood water.

Nettleham Parish Council has agreed to fund the purchase of 50 aqua-sacs and apply for funding for a further 50 from the district council. The aqua-sacs will be stored in the Old School in the centre of the village. Cllr. McNeill said:
"I think these will be very useful, easily stored when compared to traditional sandbags, with the ability to dry them out and reuse them make them a sound investment."

Monday, 18 October 2010

Edward Leigh Attacks AV Referendum

Local Conservative parliamentarian, Edward Leigh MP, Conservative (Gainsborough), has launched an attack on the proposed referendum on Alternative Voting and denounced the system as 'unsatisfactory, un-British, and causing frustration and anger'.

Mr. Leigh, former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said it was insulting to the electorate to force this 'confusing' system on them.  Writing in the Parliamentary House Magazine, Mr. Leigh said the particular type of Alternative Vote (AV) to be proposed in the referendum was in use only in Papua New Guinea.
"This system is rare for the good reasons that it is complex, eccentric, does not reduce the chances of hung parliaments and leaves the minority parties completely unrepresented.

"In short it is neither fairer nor more proportional than the system we already have.
"Don't let us wallow in a quagmire of half-measures: it is unsatisfactory, un-British and causes frustration and anger."
He pointed out that this 'AV compromise' was not in the election manifestos of either of the coalition parties and he objected to the plan to hold the referendum on the same day as the Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh elections, a manoeuvre which, he said, would concern voters in England.

"A referendum should be held when conditions are consistent across the nation. I understand that a coincidence of dates will save us nearly £8 million, but let's not sell our political principles for the price of a nice house in Chelsea".

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Liberal Democrat MP Questioned By Police

Mike Hancock MP
Mike Hancock MP, Liberal Democrat (Portsmouth South), has been 'arrested' over claims he indecently assaulted a single mother who went to him for help, Guido Falkes reports on his blog today, he has been released on police bail.

Mr. Hancock says:
"I can confirm that I was questioned on Tuesday, 12th October by officers of the Hampshire Police in relation to allegations made against me by one individual. I attended the police station voluntarily, cooperated fully and answered all questions that were asked.


"Normal processes now have to be followed by the police, which I entirely understand.

"In the circumstances, and in accordance with legal advice, it would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment on this subject as to do so could prejudice due process.

"I hope that everyone will understand my position, respect my privacy and that of my family and will demonstrate the same respect for the legal process.
"I intend to carry on normally with my work as a Portsmouth member of Parliament and councillor, both in Hampshire and in Westminster, and to represent fully all my constituents as I have always done."
The police intervention came as Mr. John Lyon, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, was also reported to have been handed a complaint concerning the parliamentarian's behaviour. Conservatives on the Portsmouth City Council, on which Mr. Hancock serves as a councillor, have called for him to be suspended while the investigation is carried out.

Mr. Hancock has previously denied any wrongdoing and claimed he had merely offered 'help and support' to the 36-year-old woman.  It has previously been reported that he forcibly kissed the single mother as well as sending her late night text messages and lavishing gifts on her.

Mr. Hancock, who married wife Jacqueline forty-three years ago and has two children, was allegedly reported to police by a family support worker for the woman, who is understood to suffer from borderline personality disorder.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

YouGov Poll Shows 83% Support For Non-Universal Child Benefit Measure

A poll by YouGov for The Sun seems to have excited people over the headline figure of 83% backing the child benefit changes last night.  However, the actual story is more nuanced.


The principle of limiting Child Benefit so that people on higher incomes do not receive it is hugely popular.  83% of respondents supporting it, with 15% opposed.  The question though, was about the principle of the policy.

YouGov asked about the practicalities of the policy, and the way that a couple both earning £30,000 would keep child benefit, while a couple where only one worked and earned £44,000 would not.  41% of people agreed that this was a fair compromise given the cost of fully means testing child benefit, but 46% thought it was unfair and that the policy should be based on a proper means-test.  So the principle of the policy is extremely popular, but people are split over the implementation of it.

A lot of assumptions are being made in the media and elsewhere that the 15% who oppose this measure are the same 15% or so of people who will be directly affected.  This is a lazy assumption. An assumption that is almost certainly not true.

Obviously in most cases people who suffer from a policy are more likely to oppose it and people who benefit from it are more likely to support it, but it is rarely if ever so clear cut. There are no income cross breaks in the YouGov table, but looking at the other cross breaks, 21% of Labour supporters oppose the idea, compared to 9% of Conservative supporters. 18% of ABC1s oppose it, but so do 10% of C2DEs.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Councillor Gets Dirty

Donning safety boots, hi-vis jacket and gloves Cllr. Mrs. Jackie Brockway, Conservative (Saxilby Ward), spent a day working side by side colleagues in the waste services team.

The West Lindsey District Councillor, who is chairman of the Community and Waste Services Committee, was surprised with her findings. She said:
"This job requires more skills than one might at first expect and I learned a great deal."

Cllr. Mrs. Jackie Brockway having
a go at wheelie bin collections.
Cllr. Mrs. Brockway used a day of her summer holiday to do a shift as a refuse collector on one of the council's refuse freighters. She said: 
"I was surprised by the speed and fluidity with which they do their jobs and I found myself having to run to keep up at first, before getting into a routine.

"They showed me how to inspect the rubbish and to get the bins onto the lifting machinery which then tipped it into the back of the wagon.

"This was far from easy and it took me a few attempts before I got the hang of things.

"My new colleagues were extremely patient with me, even when I failed to get one bin to catch on the lift and the contents fell out onto the road."
Cllr. Mrs. Brockway said she was impressed with how the driver manoeuvred the twenty-six tonne lorry smoothly through some incredibly narrow and difficult traffic situations.
Staff worked with accuracy, managing to remember where every bin came from and Cllr Brockway watched them handling residents' queries with care and diplomacy.

Cllr. Mrs. Brockway added:
"This is not a job for the unfit and there is no slow point in the day when the men can simply stop and take a rest (apart from a short lunch break).

"They're on the go the whole time and they have to be very aware of hygiene, road safety and the needs of residents.

"I was appalled by the way car drivers pushed past the refuse wagon, often at speed, with no care for the safety of the refuse collectors.

 "I'm really grateful to the team for giving me the benefit of their time and experience."
The day was arranged by Operational Service Manager, Mr. Glyn Pilkington and Team Leader Mr. Andy Selby to work with a team of three experienced operatives.

Mr Pilkington said:
"I am really pleased that Cllr Brockway wanted to have a go.

"Refuse and recycling is one service that directly impacts on all residents and therefore it is important that councillors fully understand the difficulties of the service and the need to make it as simple as possible for residents to recycle".

Monday, 4 October 2010

Chancellor Announces Bold Changes to Child Benefit

© The Conservative Party
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, has unveiled a bold plan to get Britain's ballooning benefits bill back under control, while introducing fair play into the financing of the welfare state.
Today in his keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, the Chancellor announced that the Coalition Government will introduce a new £500 a week cap on welfare benefits, designed to ensure that workless households no longer receive thousands of pounds in benefits more than the average working family receives in pay.

At the same time, child benefit will be withdrawn from households paying tax at the higher rate, to ensure that people on low incomes are no longer taxed to provide child benefit for those with bigger salaries.

The changes mean that household benefit payments will be capped near the median earned income after tax and National Insurance for working families - around £500 per week by the time of implementation in 2013.

The cap will apply to combined income derived from benefits including Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, housing and council tax benefits, Child Benefit, and Carers Allowance. Benefits like Social Fund loans and free school meals are not affected, and people with Disability Living Allowance and war widows will also be excluded.

The withdrawal of Child Benefit from higher rate taxpayers - saving an estimated £1 billion a year -will also apply from 2013, administered through the tax system. There are currently 1.2 million households where higher rate tax is applied which qualify for child benefit. The 6.6 million families with no higher rate taxpayers who receive the benefit will remain unaffected by the change. The Chancellor said:
"If the welfare state is going to gain the trust of the British people, it needs to reflect the British sense of fair play. So for the first time, we will introduce a limit on the total amounts of benefit any one family can receive; and the limit will be set according to this very simple principle: unless they have disabilities to cope with, no family should get more from living on benefits than the average family gets from going out to work."
As for child benefits, which cost taxpayers about £12 billion a year, the Chancellor declared:
"I understand that most higher rate taxpayers are not the super-rich. But a system that taxe working people at higher rates only to give it back in child benefit is very difficult to justify at a time like this.

"And it's very difficult to justify taxing people on low incomes to pay for the child benefit of those earning so much more than them.

"We have got to be tough but fair, and that's why we will withdraw child benefit from households with a higher rate taxpayer. When the debts left by Labour threaten our economy, when our welfare costs are out of control, this measure makes sense."

Thursday, 30 September 2010

NO2AV Welcome Electoral Commission Report

In the wake of the release of the Electoral Commission’s report to Parliament on the wording of the question for next year’s referendum, NO2AV – The Fight for Fair Votes – is pleased to see that several of its proposals are used in the Electoral Commission’s final recommendations.

The top lines from the Electoral Commission report include:
  1. They agree that the question has to be re-written, as requested by NO2AV
  2. They endorse the NO2AV argument that the word "adopt" should not be used in the question; a term such as ‘replace’ should be used instead
  3. They are going to provide an explanatory leaflet to voters, as requested by NO2AV
  4. Although several groups submitted responses to the Electoral Commission around the question, the Yes Campaign did not, raising concerns of bias in the question as it is currently drafted
Matthew Elliott, Campaign Director of NO2AV – The Fight for Fair Votes, said:
"We welcome this report by the Electoral Commission which echoes the concerns we expressed to the Commission over the wording of the question. It is vital that the British public understand the important decision they have to make, and we hope that Parliament and the Cabinet Office take note of the Electoral Commission’s findings when drafting the eventual question."

Monday, 27 September 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Conservatives' New Lincolnshire Area Team Elected

Cllr. Mrs. Rachel Hubbard has been elected as Conservative Party Chairman for the Lincolnshire Area, which includes the County of Lincolnshire and the five constituencies of the south humber. She is joined by Cllr. Kelly Smith as Deputy Chairman (Political) and by Mr. Richard Davies as Deputy Chairman (Membership). Mr. Peter Sunderland, Chairman of the Lincoln Conservative Association has been co-opted as County Treasurer.

Howlett is New Conservative Future National Chairman

Cllr. Ben Howlett has been elected as the new national Chairman of Conservative Future, succeeding Mr. Michael Rock.


In ToryBear reports that just 173 people voted in the contest, out of an eligible 18,000. Which is a very poor turnout. Cllr. Howlett's first job is to reflect on that low level of identification with CF among younger party members.


Chairman: Cllr. Ben Howlett (Howlett 113, Cox 60)
Deputy Chairman (Membership): Miss Clare Hilley (Hilley 73, Cooper 47)
Deputy Chairman (Political): Miss Alexandra Swann (Swann 139, Khan 33)
Appointed Officer: Mr. James Deighton (Deighton 72, Sullivan 70)

Mr. Harry Cole (aka youth Tory Blogger 'ToryBear') summed up the result saying:
"Two women and a gay guy at the top. Without quotas. Without enforcement, without special patronising identity officers. Eat your heart out Labour.

"Though the massive drop in turn out needs investigation - someone has cocked up here."
Mr. Giles McNeill said:
"Had I known that my ballot would have counted as one of only 173 cast, I would probably have taken the whole thing more seriously."

Thoughts on the New Labour Party Leader - 'Red-Ed' Miliband

The mood in the Conservative camp is one of 'undisguised mirth', as David Crow put it, at the election of Ed Miliband as Leader of the Labour Party.

Leader of the Labour Party
Ed Miliband MP.
On Saturday night, shortly after the result was announced, staff at Conservative headquarters in London were, it is understood, popping open the champagne.  Advisers to Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron think the next election is more winnable than ever.

Much of this relief is understandable. Ed Miliband’s victory has sounded the death knell for New Labour, that election-winning machine which the party had come to hate.  The Conservatives have always said Tony Blair was unbeatable and feared that David Miliband, his last disciple, would also prove a tough opponent. 

Ed Miliband sees no shame in closing the door on the Blairite past, and everything it stood for.
"The era of New Labour has passed, a new generation has taken over."
Were the word used yesterday, in his first major interview since winning the crown, with the BBC's Andrew Marr.

There is nothing 'new' however, about the team that now leads Labour.  Ken Livingstone is not only the party’s mayoral candidate, but also topped the poll in the race to sit on the party's governing body - the National Executive Committee.  Lord Kinnock, red-flag bearer for the left wing, was one of Ed Miliband’s most vocal supporters.  Despite Blair’s attempts to consign them to history, the union barons are once again an important voice in the political debate.

Beyond the same old faces.  Gone is the emphasis on social mobility, on reward for hard work and entrepreneurial spirit.  It will be replaced by 'equality', essentially old-fashioned redistribution of wealth. Labour no longer wants to have more pie – it just wants to cut it up more evenly.

The banks will be bashed; the rich will be soaked; the private sector will be banished from public services. This is the manifesto on which Labour will fight the next election.

For Ed Miliband is not the joke that his opponents are trying to portray him as.  No, he is not as good as Blair, few politicians are.  But he is still a credible leader considering recent peers.

Susan Boyle of X-Factor fame
before and after.
He is much better than Neil Kinnock, the 'Welsh windbag' that voters simply would not vote for in 1992 – no matter how much they hated John Major and his completely divided government.  As Gordon Brown’s favourite number cruncher, he is clearly economically literate, unlike Harriet Harman, and will be able to twist facts and figures to attack the government as only a Brownite can.  He is no professional for the media, but his smile is nowhere near as scary as Brown’s, and the transformations that can be managed today, with a little coaching, are staggering - think Susan Boyle.

If he can convince the big trade unions to keep industrial unrest in check, his populist brand of socialism could tap into the banker-bashing zeitgeist.  As could his claim that the deficit can be reduced without much pain.  Voters might say they back tough cuts right now, but it is easy to say that before their impact starts to bite.

Worst of all for David Cameron is that Ed Miliband is a relative unknown – both in politics and public.  A fresh face gives him an enormous advantage - which his brother, David Miliband, would not have had

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Go Ahead For 2,500 New Homes Plan

A major housing development which will help double the size of Gainsborough in the next twenty years has been given the go-ahead.

Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr. Burt Keimach, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward), has welcomed the news. He said:
"This is excellent news for Gainsborough as it means the development that will support the regeneration of the town can be decided locally. It also fits in well with the Government's agenda for people to shape their own future

"We can now proceed to determine the application in line with the Planning Committee's decision and continue the regeneration of Gainsborough."
As previously reported, the council granted outline planning permission for 2,500 homes to be built on land south of Foxby Lane, in the South West Ward of Gainsborough.  However, because the scale of the development is different from the local policy, the final decision had to be approved by the Government.

This week, the council received a letter from the Government Office for the East Midlands. It read:
"In the Secretary of State's view, the proposed (application) does not raise issues of such wider significance as to require a determination by him and he has, therefore, concluded that your council should decide the application."
Plans for the development include two primary schools, shops, a doctors' surgery and a multi-use centre.

The development will be complemented with large open spaces and parks and access to nearby woodlands together with pedestrian and cycle routes.

Chief Executive of the Council Mrs. Manjeet Gill said:
"This new development is another positive sign of confidence in the future of Gainsborough. It will provide a major employment boost in the construction stage and will eventually support 1,500 new jobs in the business, industrial, retail and home worker sectors.

It's crucial we get the plans right by ensuring the right infrastructure and services will be in place to cope with the increase in demand and we look forward to seeing the details of the planning application."
The applicant will now need to submit further 'reserved matters' applications, to deal with the detail of the site.

The timescale for this and the start date for building is in the hands of the developer.

However, it is planned that the development will take 12-13 years to complete with about 200 new homes being added each year.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Speed Indicator Device Deployed In Nettleham

A Speed Indicator Device (SID), partly paid for by Nettleham Parish Council, was deployed for the first time in the village on Monday, 20th September 2010 on Deepdale Lane.


The devices have been shown to have a significant effect on reducing traffic speeds. In a year-long study of the speed of more than 325,000 vehicles showed that road safety signs that flash up drivers' speeds do work.

Dorset County Council, who compared the average speeds recorded at thirty-five sites to speeds before the SIDs were deployed, demonstrated that drivers' speeds were five miles per hour lower near the speed indicator devices.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Nettleham is Best Kept Village - Again!

Nettleham residents will be feeling mighty pleased to once again have been award first place in the Lincolnshire Best Kept Village and Small Towns Competition 2010.

The competition, entered into by Nettleham Parish Council, has a number of categories and the village compete is the third category for villages with a population of between 2,001 - 7,000 residents.

Writing to the Parish Clerk the organisers said:
"Congratulations to your community on winning your class in this year's competition again.  The marks have been very close which is the hall mark of a high standard of competition and you can with justification feel very proud of the achievement of your community.  The residents of Nettleham obviously pull together to make it a nice place to be."
The Parish Council will receive a plaque to erect marking the achievement, a certificate and a tree.

Nettleham Parish Councillor, Giles McNeill said:
"I am really proud of how our community works so hard year in year out to be leaders in this competition. I also want to praise the staff of the Parish Council who work hard to remove any grafitti or other detritus swiftly, ensure that fences are readily repaired and that contractors complete grass cutting to the high standards expected of the Council. I must also praise those people in the village who volunteer their time to go litter picking."

Friday, 17 September 2010

Edward Leigh & John PughTo Advise George Osbourne and The Treasury

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, has asked Edward Leigh MP and John Pugh MP to act as advisors on improving accountability to Parliament. They will provide independent advice, support and challenge to the Treasury and the activities it is undertaking that are aimed at improving financial management across government.

Their combined knowledge and experience from time spent on the Treasury Select Committee and Public Accounts Committee will be a great asset to the Treasury as it acts to strengthen financial discipline across the public sector.

Key areas of their remit will be:
  • Input to the Treasury’s newly formed Financial Management Advisory Panel, which brings external challenge to the development and implementation of a new financial management strategy for central government;
  • To act as champions for modernising the public spending information that Parliament receives in order to improve transparency;
  • To advise on the Government’s approach to the management of strategic financial risks in public service delivery; and
  • To provide independent assurance and advice to relevant projects as they are initiated and progressed.
Mr Leigh and Mr Pugh will provide an important independent perspective on how the Treasury is progressing against its long-term financial management strategy for government.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Giles McNeill Appointed Area Chairman of Lincolnshire Conservative Future

It was today announced that Mr. Giles McNeill has been appointed as the new Area Chairman for Lincolnshire Conservative Future, the youth wing od the Conservative Party. Addressing activists from accross Lincolnshire Mr. McNeill said:

"I have been appointed, by the new Regional Chairman of East Midlands Conservative Future, Mr. Thomas Turrell, who has succeeded Mr. Hamish Stewart, as Chairman of Lincolnshire Conservative Future. Master Robin Hunter-Clarke has been appointed as a Deputy-Chairman.

"I would like to take a minute to thank my predecessor Mr. Reza Shah who became Chairman at a time of considerable stress for our organisation and has done a good job in holding matters together in the run up to the General Election. I would also like to pay tribute to Mr. Simon Cavalier-Jones who has now stepped down as a Deputy Chairman.

"It is my hope that in the coming year we will continue to pull together, building existing branches and creating new branches in our area and continuing to build ever closer ties with our colleagues in the senior party."
Mr. McNeill served in the post previously between June 2008 and July 2009.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

CCTV Image Could Be Burglar Who Has Raided Village Homes

The Lincolnshire Echo today report that police have released an image of a lone man who they believe is at the centre of 40 burglaries carried out in two Lincolnshire villages.


The paper reports that since May, he has stolen tens of thousands of pounds of jewellery and cash from properties in Nettleham and Saxilby. The homes targeted have been empty with many of the occupants having gone on holiday and it remains a puzzle how the thief seems to know the properties are vacant.

The images from Sunday, 15th August 2010, show the man in Horncastle town centre, where he has also allegedly struck six times.

The Police asked the paper to publish the pictures in an attempt to uncover the perpetrator's identity. They are offering a £1,000 reward to information leading to a conviction. Through detailed investigations, including increased patrols in the area and, in some cases, covert work, police are confident the man is from the South Yorkshire area.

Detective Chief Inspector Shaun West said:
"The detailed work we have done with these images means we are very confident this is our man.

"Although we can't go into detail for operational reasons, we are also extremely confident he lives in or regularly visits the South Yorkshire area.

"We need people in Lincolnshire to study these images and tell us if they think they know this man."

Monday, 6 September 2010

Simon Cavalier-Jones Quits Election Race

Lincolnshire's Simon Cavalier-Jones who until tonight had been in the running for the National Chairmanship of Conservative Future - the youth wing of the Conservative Party - announced that he was quitting the race.

In a message to supporters Mr. Cavalier-Jones said:
"I am pulling out of the race to be the next CF Chair. Unfortunately this is not due to any exciting revelation's about my private life, but due to new work related commitment's.


"I would like to thank everybody who has worked on my campaign, you have done a brilliant job. Namely I would like to thank (In no particular order) Philip Smith, Hamish Stewart, Muheed, Sophie Shrubsole, Jack Whalley, Reza Shah, Giles McNeill, Ed Turner, Luke Springthorne, Ben Mallett, Nic Careem, James Deighton, Chris Southeran, Mr Trynka-Watson X2, Annesley Abercorn, Ben Harris Quinney and of course Mrs Hamster. These are just a few of the people who have helped out or had to listen to my moaning!
"I am supporting Craig Cox for Chair and I hope you will do the same."
With the closure of nomination tomorrow at noon it is now widely expected that the fight will be between Cllr. Ben Howlett and Mr. Craig Cox.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Lincolnshire Residents Save Hundreds With New Insulation Scheme

A new scheme to cut residents' energy bills and reduce carbon emissions is being launched across Lincolnshire including West Lindsey.


Established by local councils and run by the Energy Saving Trust, the Home Energy Lincolnshire Partnership (HELP) scheme is the first of its kind in the area and will save residents hundreds of pounds each year on energy bills.

Under the HELP scheme, those over 60 or on qualifying benefits can receive cavity wall and loft insulation absolutely free, and everyone else can get it for the hugely discounted price of £49 for cavity wall and £79 for loft, subject to property survey and maximum sizes.

Insulating homes keeps heat where it's needed the most - inside, which means they will be warmer in winter and cheaper to heat.

Mr. Sean Johnson, Chair of HELP, said:
"We are delighted to be working with other Councils and partners to provide Lincolnshire residents with simple routes to saving money and carbon."
Insulating the loft can save the homeowner around £150 a year, and a further £115 a year can be saved by getting cavity wall insulation. In a time of rising energy prices and economic uncertainty this will be a blessing for those already struggling to keep up with spiralling fuel bills.

Around 10,000 homes are expected to benefit from the HELP scheme over the next twelve months, resulting in huge savings across the region.

Ms Denise Marsdon, Centre Manager for the Energy Saving Trust advice centre East Midlands, said:
"We are delighted to be able to support this scheme for the people of Lincolnshire. Not only will people save money at a time when they need it the most, but this will also go a long way toward helping to achieve Government targets for CO2 emissions reduction."
Teams of canvasses will be making their way around the County to offer this opportunity to residents and will have proper identification relating to the scheme, which residents should ask to see.

Homeowners can also apply for the HELP scheme by calling the Energy Saving Trust free on 0800 512 012

Monday, 23 August 2010

£100,000 Flood Prevention Project to Start at Fiskerton

Work to strengthen flood defences in a West Lindsey village is set to start next week.

 

Fiskerton has been plagued by flooding problems for more than twenty years but now their misery is set to come to an end.

 

West Lindsey District Council has teamed up with a number of partners to help deliver an innovative solution to the problem.

 

Plans have been drawn up to intercept much of the surface and land drainage from the uphill side of the village and redirect it, back under, rather than through the village.

 

Mr. Tony Adams, Flood Prevention Officer at West Lindsey District Council, thanked everyone involved in making the scheme possible. He said:
"The involvement and contribution of the Church Commissioners, the tenant farmer, The Witham Third Internal Drainage Board and the Parish Council have been invaluable and without their support and passage through the school, then this scheme could not have come about."
Work is expected to start on the scheme on Tuesday at Fiskerton Church of England Primary School.

 

This part of the work is expected to be complete by September, in time for the children to return after the summer holidays.

 

Other and more extensive work will be carried out in the field north of the village hall and lesser works in the fields to the east and west and is expected to be complete by the end of September.

 

The work has been made possible thanks to funding from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

 

Cllr. Mrs. Meg Davidson, Conservative (Fiskerton Ward) said:
"This is exciting news - although there have been a few hurdles to overcome it is great to know it is going ahead.

 

"It really good how many people have worked together to make this happen, it has been a real team effort.

 

"Residents of Fiskerton were affected quite badly in the 2007 floods because of the pressures of the existing drainage systems and this news will give them a real boost.

 

"West Lindsey has done a huge amount of work in working with residents, making sure they knew what was happening and why.

 

"I would like to thank staff at West Lindsey for getting the DEFRA grant; it is a real credit to them."

Cllr. Mrs. Jackie Brockway, Chairman of Community and Waste Services Committee at the council, said:
"West Lindsey and its partners have worked very hard to secure this money for the Fiskerton flooding scheme.

 

"I am absolutely delighted that work is going to start and hopefully it will relieve the problems for residents."
Disruption to the village as a whole will be kept to a minimum as work to all but the village hall and the school works will be via the entrance to the airfield at Reepham Road.

 

Work will be limited to the hours of 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings.

 

Part of the village hall grounds will be closed to ensure safe work and access.

 
Partners involved in the scheme include:
  • The Church Commissioners
  • The Tenant Farmer, Mr Philip Good
  • The Witham Third Internal Drainage Board
  • Anglian Water
  • LincolnshireCounty Council - Highways
  • LincolnshireCounty Council - Fiskerton C.E. Primary School
  • West Lindsey District Council

Friday, 20 August 2010

Cavalier-Jones Begins New Public Relations Blitz

Candidate for National Chairman of Conservative Future, Mr. Simon Cavalier-Jones, has the gravitas and business experience to lead, according to his campaign team. In a fresh PR blitz designed to highlight their candidate’s broadcast media coverage and ability to comment on serious issues, a video has been released showing Mr. Cavalier-Jones being interviewed on the BBC’s Newsnight Programme.

Commenting on the launch, he said,
"It's vital that we remember Labour’s Legacy, one of Record debt, Record numbers of people out of work and the great waste of Ken Clarke's golden Legacy. We as a generation face the greatest consequences of Labours failed educational reforms, the worst prospect's of employment since the 1960's and greatest number of barriers to Social Mobility that any generation has ever faced.

"The reason for this is not bad Government alone, but the flawed Ideology of the Labour Party, based around big Government, Big Waste and a belief that they can influence our everyday lives in the way no Government in history has been able to do. Labour are the party of denial, they can not point to one single achievement that did not incur a great cost. They are also our Main opposition, we have 5 year's to win the argument's that matter, to win the ideological battle and sweep to an overall majority at the next election.

"As CF we can be the agent for change, but we must focus on the issues that matter and not fighting pointless battles, I for one am happy to carry on leading the Fight against Labour."

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Leader Will Not Now Visit Linelands

As reported yesterday Cllr. Martin Hill, Conservative (Folkingham Rural Division), Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, had planned to visit Linelands carehome in Nettleham today. But following the unrelenting intrusion of the local press has had to call off today's visit and will reschedule it for another time.

The County Council is deciding how it will provide care to the county's ageing population. This includes the option of shutting eight care homes.

Cllr. Hill agreed to visit Linelands after being challenged in the Lincolnshire Echo by carer and union representative Ms Phyl Lynn to speak to those involved at the care home.

Cllr. Hill said he postponed the visit due to high media interest, but a new date would be rearranged. He said:
"I want to talk to the residents without them having to speak publicly or being intimidated by the presence of a camera.

"After I have been to Linelands I will be very happy to give interviews."

Monday, 16 August 2010

County Council Leader To Visit Linelands

The Lincolnshire Echo is today reporting that the Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Cllr. Martin Hill, Conservative (Folkingham Rural Division) will come meet with carers and campaigners tomorrow at Linelands, Nettleham, which has an uncertain future following the council's review of care services.


There will be no formal meeting, but staff and residents will be able to speak to him as he tours the building.

Cllr. Hill's decision to visit is in response to a challenge made in the paper by Linelands carer and union representative Ms Phyl Lynn, who asked Cllr. Hill to 'really understand what the services are providing' before making a decision.

The county council is considering how it will provide care to Lincolnshire's ageing population, with closure one of the options.

Cllr. Hill is reported to have said:
"It will help inform us how services are delivered and how they could be delivered in the future, ahead of our decision on shaping care for the future next January."
Cllr. Hill will be joined by Adult Social Care Executive Member, Cllr. Graham Marsh and the County Council's Assistant Director for Adult Social Care, Ms Carolyn Kus.

Campaigners believe the future of the care homes is a 'done deal' and want care to come before profit.

Leader of the Opposition, Cllr. Mrs. Marianne Overton, Lincolnshire Independent (Branston & Navenby Division) has previously said any plans to close the existing homes and replace them with new buildings could be 'doomed to failure'.

Concrete proposals on what the county council is planning are expected to emerge in the autumn.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Conservatives Cleared Over 'Inappropriate Behaviour' Allegations

Two members of West Lindsey District Council who faced allegations of inappropriate behaviour have been cleared following the investigation undertaken by Standards for England.

Standards for England have revealed that Mr. Adam Duguid, formerly Leader of the Council, and Cllr. Malcolm Parish, Conservative (Welton Ward) did not breach the code of conduct when they met a suspended council officer last year.

The two men were accused of bringing West Lindsey District Council into disrepute after they were present at a meeting with a suspended council worker in September 2009. However, Standards for England has concluded neither man discussed a disciplinary hearing that was ongoing at the time.

Cllr. Parish was said to have acted out of 'genuine concern for the officer's wellbeing' whilst Mr. Duguid's behaviour was described as 'not likely to compromise the impartiality' of the council's investigation.

Mr. Duguid, who lost his Market Rasen seat at the local elections in May, told the Echo:
"I think they did a very fair investigation. There were plenty of opportunities to raise points. My only criticism was it took rather a long time to be sorted."
Bernard Theobald addresses
the council lst year.
Meanwhile an announcement made by Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, means that local residents may never know the outcome of a report by the Audit Commission - which is pending publication in to matters related to governance at the authority - after the body was announced that it is to be scraped with the loss of 2,000 civil service posts as part of government cuts. Doubtlessly Mr. Bernard Theobald, Mr. Duguid's predecessor as Leader of the Council, who also lost his seat in recent elections, is probably delighted at that news.

Friday, 13 August 2010

EU and US Conclude Swift Agreement

The United States and European Union signed an agreement giving the American government agencies access to all bank transactions within Europe, in the name of anti-terrorism intelligence.

The Swift agreement, named after the Belgian-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication that runs the eponymous intra-bank network, was accepted by the EU on Monday 28th June 2010. It allows American collection of data within Europe and the transfer of information about suspicious transactions to the US. An EU official based in the US will maintain oversight for privacy and against misuse.

The agreement follows an earlier interim agreement to give the US data on all transactions, which was signed last November ahead of changes to the Swift architecture. Originally, Swift had two datacentres — one in the US and one in the EU — which mirrored all bank transactions. From 1 January, 2010, a third datacentre was used in Switzerland to maintain redundancy without having EU data in the US, which would have been against European privacy law.

The interim agreement was subsequently opposed by groups within the EU parliament, including the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), who forced a parliamentary rejection of the agreement in February. The S&D amendments were then incorporated.

The European Parliament has adopted the Swift agreement on Thursday, 8th July 2010 allowing sharing EU citizens' bank data with the US authorities. The text was adopted with 484 votes in favour and 109 against. The supporters of the current version claim that the new text was significantly improved by gaining a number of important concessions from the US. These include the limitation of bulk data being transfer to the US or the role of Europol in overseeing the transfer process.

However, there are concerns that the current agreement does not meet the European privacy standards. There is no prior judicial ruling required for transfer of data, the definition of "terrorism" is very broad and there is still no legal redress available for EU citizens in the US against data transfers or the possibly serious consequences thereof. Also, in practice, Swift can't currently limit data searches to specific individuals or single transactions. Actually, it will have to (and has in the past) transfer data about all transactions from a certain country or a certain bank on a certain date. There have been reports that the US Treasury has received up to 25% of all Swift transactions, which number in the billions each year.

As regards the Europol's position, the EU body is far from a judicial authority and it is now authorized to request information from the US searches in the transferred data, which drastically reduces any incentive to limit the transferred amount of data in the first place.

This agreement entered into force on Sunday, 1st August 2010. The current text will be valid for five years and then automatically extends for one year at a time. In order to terminate the agreement, one of the parties has to take an initiative. Even if it is terminated, all transferred data will remain at the disposal of US authorities. The data provided to the American authorities will be subject to a retention period of five years.

The Agreement between the EU and the USA on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data from the EU to the USA for purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program can be read here.

Friday, 6 August 2010

New Community Sports Centre Opened In Gainsborough

Above: Marshalls Sport Pavilion official opening
(Left to Right) Mr. Brian Dalby, Mr. James Nicholson,
Cllr. Mrs. Jackie Brockway, Cllr. William Parry and
Mr. Chris Barry.
A new energy efficient sports facility, which has cost almost £900,000, has been built in West Lindsey to benefit the whole community.


Marshalls Sport Pavilion on Gainsborough's Middlefield Lane has been fitted with solar water heaters to provide hot water to the showers and basins, natural ventilation in the function room, efficient lighting and much more.
The facility was officially opened by the deputy chairman of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr. William Parry, Conservative (Scotter Ward).


Cllr. Parry said: "I was privileged to officially open this superbamenity building of changing rooms and function roomfor the Marshalls Sports Clubs.

Funding from the Football Foundation and Gainsborough Development Trust, as well as the District Council, has enabled this excellent sports facility to be built."

West Lindsey District Council took over the running of the site from Marshall's Sports and Social Club about three years ago.

The original pavilion was in a bad state of repair and unusable.

However, sports groups continued to play on the fields and used portable cabins to change in to their team colours.

Now thanks to the funding, a new energy saving building has been built, providing top class facilities for teams to use.

It has been designed by the council's Technical and Contract Services team and Ross Davy Associates and was built by local contractors Gelders. Mr. Steve Gelder managing director of Gelders said:
"It is a fantastic building and by using local contractors you get more of an affinity with the project."
The facility has the following:

  • Six changing rooms with their own showers and toilets
  • A large function room
  • Kitchen and stores
  • Two official changing rooms
  • Bag/equipment storage
  • Entrance foyer with toilets
  • The car park has also been extended.
Mr. Brian Dalby, Director of the Gainsborough Development Trust, said:
"This really is a superb facility. The money we have put into this project is surplus from the work carried out on the Riverside and it is good to see this project has also brought money into the town."
Mr. Chris Barry, Technical Advisor for the Football Foundation, grew up in the town and uses the facility regularly said:
"It is fantastic to see this good quality building open in Gainsborough as this is something that has been needed for a long time."
Mr. Graham Lyner, Chairman of the Lincolnshire Football Association, who has been campaigning for a facility like this for about ten years said:
"There has been a lack of facilities in Gainsborough. This building is absolutely wonderful. I would like to say congratulations to everyone who has been involved in making this come true. It is a credit to the town."
Cllr. Mrs. Jackie Brockway, Conservative (Saxilby Ward), chairman of Community and Waste Services Committee was pleased to be at the launch. Speaking to everyone involved in the project, she said:
"You have not just built a building you have built a legacy of opportunity, good health and community. You have not just done it - you have done it well and I thank you."
The facility is fully inclusive for different social group mixes and will help the 14 children's teams, bowls, and cricket and football teams.

Mr. Dave Andrews, Chairman of Marshall's Cricket Club, said seeing the building had made him speechless. He said:
"It is a fantastic facility - beyond my wildest dreams."
From Wednesday, 1st September 2010, the facility will be handed over to Gainsborough Town Council, who will be taking over the running of it.

Mr. Paul Leeder, Clerk to Gainsborough Town Council, said:
"I think this is a fantastic facility. A lot of people have put in a lot of hard work in to getting this facility here. It would be good to get more people to use it not just sports groups."

Friday, 30 July 2010

Echo Reports Lincoln MPs Twitter Misjudgement, But Triumphs On BBC Radio Lincolnshire

The Lincolnshire Echo is today reporting that Karl McCartney MP, Conservative (Lincoln), who posted a message on his Twitter feed has strongly criticised people who oppose plans supported by the parliamentarian to bring horse racing to Lincoln's West Common.

The comments came after the paper reported on the Lincoln Commons Advisory Panel's decision to reject plans for the racecourse and recommend to the City of Lincoln Council's Executive that it does not grant an initial lease.

Above: Karl McCartney,
Member of Parliament for
the Lincoln Constituency
Mr. McCartney tweeted:
"It says a lot that Labour councillors and anti brigade try to judge everyone's motives by their own standards and twisted hate-filled republican logic."
The paper reports that the tweet has left residents and the six hundred people who signed a petition against a racecourse wondering whether Mr. McCartney is listening to them.

Ms Jane Kirman of Hewson Road, voted Conservative in the General Election. is reported to have said:
"He should listen to the people who put him into power."
The Lincolnshire Echo asked Mr. McCartney how he thought people might feel and report that he said:
"I would never insult the six hundred people who signed the petition as they have rightly wanted to have their say, but the premise of the information in the petition is incorrect.

"The problem has been the way the proposals have been wrongly portrayed by those who willfully have done so, aided and abetted by certain media.

"Yesterday's story in the Echo started with the line 'plans to bring back racing on Lincoln's West Common'. This is not the case because the plans put forward are about looking at whether it is viable to do so and do not say it should definitely go ahead at all.

"This has been about The Lincoln Racecourse Regeneration Company Ltd and Lincoln Racecourse Trust being allowed to investigate if racing is viable."
The company, of which Mr. McCartney is a director, is asking Lincoln City Council for a heads of term lease. It is with this lease secured that the company would start to work up a masterplan. But the Commons Advisory Panel, the paper reports, has agreed that if the company wanted to create a masterplan, it should go ahead without the lease, which the company wants to demonstrate the authority is interested in the project.

The authority will decide later in the year whether to accept the recommendation.

Mr. McCartney later edited his Twitter feed to read:
"It says a lot that some Labour councillors and a tiny majority of anti brigade try to judge anyone's motives by their own standards."
Mr. McCartney, early this morning, spoke on BBC Radio Lincolnshire and talked about the Echo's story and vehemently denied that he did not listen to local people and that a deal had already been done.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Lincoln Rugby Club Granted Planning Permission for Lodge Lane Site

Last night West Lindsey District Council's Planning Committee granted Lincoln Rugby Football Club Planning Permission to build a new clubhouse and playing area on thirty-two acres of land on Lodge Lane, Nettleham.

The club, ten years ago, somewhat reluctantly, came to the decision that the facilities at the Lindum Sports Club, off Wragby Road, Lincoln were no longer large enough to cope with a rapidly growing number of players, particularly in the mini and junior sections. The club is naturally delighted after years of difficulties and frustrations to have finally got the go ahead. Once new facilities are ready for use the club will be in a position to achieve its aims of increasing participation across all age groups, introducing girls' and women's rugby and becoming a for in rugby in the area.

The proposed clubhouse will have six changing rooms as well as a bar and social areas.  The playing area will allow for up to four full size pitches and seven smaller junior and mini pitches.  In the summer months it is hoped that the facility will be used for Rugby League as well as tag rugby and rounders.  The clubhouse, which is designed to cater for the disabled, has been identified as a potential centre for 'boccia', a game similar to indoor bowls suitable for the disabled.  The club is keen to work closely with the local community.

Above: Mr. Bill Green, Prsident
of  Lincoln Rugby Club.
Club President, Mr. Bill Green, said:
"I am delighted with this decision which will allow us to develop a facility to meet our current and future needs.  It will allow us to introduce girls' and women's rugby as well as resolving the situation where we have turned players away in some of our junior and mini age groups due to lack of space.  We are looking forward to working closely with West Lindsey District Council and other bodies to develop participation in active sport in the area."
If everything goes to plan the club hopes to open the facility in January 2012, providing that a gap in funding can be filled.

Nettleham Parish Council had previously decided to object to the proposals and Cllr. John Evans represented the council at last night's meeting.

Speaking at the meeting Cllr. Evans said the proposal would be 'overwhelming and disproportionate' for the village.

Cllr. Evans said:
"The issue of congestion and safety through the middle village has been dismissed by the planning officer's report.

"We live there and we know how bad the traffic can get, even when it's not time for the school run."
 He summerised his thoughts following the meeting last night, via email, saying:
"I had five minutes to put the parish council view, and provided as much supporting planning related evidence as I could. We also had two members of the public addressing the issue and they were both against. The planning issue which I raised was not addressed, and the traffic issue was debated but finally dismissed, clearly the opinion of the Highways Dept counts for nothing."
Cllr. Evens noted that both of Nettleham's District Councillors supported the application and said:
"The only person to vote against the application was the councillor for Sudbrooke".
The application was carried by six votes in favour to one vote against.

You can watch the meeting of West Lindsey District Council's Planning Committee here.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

District Councillor Will Not Represent Villagers At Crucial Planning Meeting

A West Lindsey District Councillor has undoubtedly angered residents from across Nettleham by refusing to take place in the 'debate and vote' of tonight's Planning Committee Meeting.

Cllr. Malcolm Leaning, Liberal Democrat (Nettleham Ward), astonished many local residents last week by declaring his support for the Lincoln Rugby Club's proposals for Lodge Lane, Nettleham.

Now, Cllr. Leaning has left hopeful residents disappointed as he has decided not to take part in the debate and vote on the matter. Whilst those opposed to the development will no doubt be pleased.

Cllr. Leaning explained that
"[R]egarding the advice I had given the committee in December when I had anticipated a much earlier decision which would have been taken in my absence. Although I had not pre-determined any decision, as I had said I was awaiting reports, she [Rachel North] feels it would be safer if I just addressed the committee as ward member then temporally leave the meeting while the debate and vote takes place."
Cllr. Leaning at the beginning of the year was on holiday, abandoning his responsibilities to local electors, on a four month luxury cruise and had not expected to be in the country when the matter came before councillors.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Edward Leigh Attacks Alternative Voting Reform as 'Extraordinarily Dangerous'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat (Sheffield Hallam), has defended the government's plans to hold a referendum on changing the Westminster voting system against claims that its proposed timing is 'extraordinarily dangerous'.

At question time on Tuesday, 27th July 2010, Mr. Clegg said holding the ballot on whether Members of Parliament should be elected by the alternative vote method on the same day as next May's elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, as well as local authorities in England, would boost turnout and save money.

Above: Edward Leigh MP quizzing
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
But Conservative, former minister, Edward Leigh MP, Conservative (Gainsborough), asked the deputy prime minister:
"Notwithstanding the fact that my new and best Right Hon. Friend would, I am sure, now deprecate the fact that if we had had the alternative vote in 1997 the Conservative party would have been reduced to a pathetic rump of 65 MPs, does he not think that precisely because AV is not proportional, it raises complicated questions? It is extraordinarily dangerous, therefore, to have the referendum on the same day as other elections, namely the Scottish elections. We need a proper debate on the issue."
Mr. Leigh is one of forty-four Conservatives backing a motion, tabled by Conservative backbencher Bernard Jenkin, which urges the coalition government to rethink its plans, warning that they contradict advice issued by the Electoral Commission.

But Mr. Clegg replied:
"About 84% of voters in England will be voting in any event next May. In Scotland and Wales everybody will be entitled to vote.

"About 39 million people will be anyway invited to vote next May and it seems to me, instead of asking people to constantly go back to polling booths to cast separate votes, it is perfectly right to say on a very simple issue, yes or no, to invite them to do so at, by the way, lower cost to the Exchequer - it saves around £17m - on the same day as other elections."
In response to criticism from Labour backbencher Jim McGovern about the failure of the government to consult the Scottish Parliament about the timing of the vote, Mr Clegg told MPs:
"I think it is disrespectful to the voters and people of Scotland to suggest that somehow they are incapable of making two decisions at once."

Monday, 26 July 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Gillian Merron Spotted In Lincoln

The former Labour parliamentarian for Lincoln, Ms Gillian Merron, was spotted earlier today in Lincoln. Ms. Merron who lost her Lincoln seat in the general election to Karl McCartney MP, Conservative (Lincoln), resurfaced on Guildhall Street in the centre of the city earlier today.

Quizzed on what life was now holding for the former minister now that she had left government and parliament she responded that she was 'looking for work', confirming other reports of her recent activities from other source.

Ms Merron also indicated that David Miliband, the shadow Foreign Secretary, had her support to become the next leader of the Labour Party and scotched Diane Abbotts chances of winning the leadership.

In all Ms Merron seemed to be in confident and positive spirits and her opponent had failed, by his own definition, of what he wanted to achieve by winning the seat with a bigger swing than that achieved by Martin Vickers MP, Conservative (Cleethorpes).

Saturday, 24 July 2010

District Councillor Says 'Yes' to Nettleham Rugby Development

Cllr. Malcolm Leaning, Liberal Democrat (Nettleham Ward) has given his support for planning permission to be granted to the Lindum Rugby Club's proposed development on Lodge Lane, Nettleham.

With a meeting of the West Lindsey District Council's Planning Committee only days away, Cllr. Leaning has stunned local residents opposed to the plans by endorsing the proposed scheme, recommended for approval in the officer's report, which states:
"Anticipating that a decision on the application could well be made whilst he was going to be away, Councillor Leaning has explained he is fully aware of the lengthy discussions which have taken place between the Club and the parish council and at public meetings. He has received messages of support and objections. Whilst he would have preferred to have the benefit of a full report from officers, as this was not available at the time he decided on the basis of what information was available on balance to support the proposal. In so doing he pointed out that Mulsanne Park has no spare capacity for pursuits other than those which take place there at present and this will result in a greater choice for residents, and that Nettleham as a community tries to cater for all age groups in its population."
The meeting of the Planning Committee to discuss the planning application will take place on Wednesday, 28th July at 6:30pm at the Guildhall, Marshall's Yard Gainsborough and it is widely expected that planning permission will be granted.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Lincoln's Conservatives Split Over Racecourse's Future

The Lincolnite is reporting that an unnamed Conservative City Councillor has blasted The Lincoln Racecourse Regeneration Company’s plans to reinstate horse racing in the West Common, saying that they are a 'bad idea that won’t happen.'


The councillor, who, it is reported, wishes to remain anonymous in order to still be able to vote against LRRC’s plans at the Council’s Executive Meeting on Monday, 9th August 2010, is reported to have said there is
"no general support within the Council"
for the racecourse.

The plans are 'a complete waste of time,' and there 'is no way this is going to happen.' The City of Lincoln Council is 'never ever going to grant them a lease,' the councillor added, explaining the Council still has to take each proposal in to consideration, including the one for the racecourse.

Karl McCartney MP, Conservative (Lincoln) and a director of the Lincoln Racecourse Regeneration Company, is 'a complication' in this issue, the councillor is reported to have said. The City of Lincoln Council has 'no political will' toward the racecourse plans, despite it having a Conservative-led council, achieved with support from the council's lone liberal, Helen Heath, Liberal Democrat (Carholme Ward). Accusations that the Lincoln racecourse is a 'Conservative conspiracy' were also refuted.

Meanwhile, the residents' campaign against the West Common racecourse is gaining momentum. The campaign, has gathered 450 signatures on an online petition and is also backed by television botanist David Bellamy, who said the Common is “very, very precious” and it shouldn’t be used for commercial purposes.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Edward Leigh Will Chair Party Policy Committee on Foreign Affairs

A system of backbench policy committee is being revived within the Conservative Party now that it is back in government and local parliamentarian Edward Leigh it can be revealed is to Chair the committee on Foreign Affairs.

The 1922 Committee, has opted to create five committees covering broad areas of government policy, rather than have one for every single government department - which was the system that operated previously. The committee will likely play a significant role both in policy formation and acting as a channel of communication between backbenchers and ministers.

Alan Clark wrote in his diaries, exalting in his victory over Julian Critchley in the contest for the Vice-Chairmanship of the backbench Defence Committee.
"It's no good just having the Left or Right "whipped" vote behind you,"

"You have to be able to pick up something from the uncommitted. Conversely, of course, it's no use just being one of the uncommitted because however well-liked you are, you are bound to get squeezed."

The elections for the chairmen of these committees have just taken place and It can now be revealed that the following have been chosen to serve by their peers:
  • Economic Affairs - John Redwood MP (Wokingham)
  • Home and Constitutional Affairs - Eleanor Laing MP (Epping Forest)
  • Foreign Affairs - Edward Leigh MP (Gainsborough)
  • Public Services - Andrew Percy (Brigg & Goole)
  • Environment - Neil Parish MP (Tiverton and Honiton)