Thursday, 25 February 2010

Full Details of New Chief Executive Appointment at West Lindsey District Council

Update to 'EXCLUSIVE: West Lindsey Announce New Chief Executive'.

A new Chief Executive has been appointed by West Lindsey District Council.
A meeting of the authority last night confirmed the appointment of the forty-eight year-old, mother of two, Mrs. Manjeet Gill who is expected to start her new job in May.

Right: West Lindsey District Council Chief Executive Mrs. Manjeet Gill.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Adam Duguid, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward) said:
"The selection panel was faced with the difficult job of selecting a candidate from a very strong short-list, but Mrs. Gill was the unanimous choice."
Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Reg Shore, Liberal Democrat (Stow Ward), added:
"The two-day selection process was very rigorous but I am sure an excellent choice has been made and that the whole district will benefit."
A delighted Mrs. Gill said:
"I am extremely proud to have been chosen to be West Lindsey's Chief Executive. This is a district with many strengths and challenges and I am looking forward to working with councillors and officers to build on the strengths and to meet the challenges.
"I was attracted to the job because the Council has a good track record and I am looking forward to developing the towns in the district and improving the rural economy."
Mrs. Gill's local government career began in environmental health with Leicester City Council. She has worked as Chief Executive for Salisbury District Council and her other senior posts include roles in Regeneration and Partnerships at Northamptonshire County Council.

She has also worked as a professional adviser on public sector leadership and on the role of the voluntary and community sector in society.

Away from work Mrs. Gill enjoys running in the countryside and cycling.

Mrs. Gill succeeds Mr. Duncan Sharkey who has taken a post with Worcester City Council as Managing Director.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

EXCLUSIVE: West Lindsey Announce New Chief Executive

The New Chief Executive of West Lindsey District Council Has been named as Mrs. Manjeet Gill, believed to be from Leicestershire with a string of acting Chief Executive posts to her credit.

Mrs. Gill is to replace out going Chief Executive Duncan Sharkey who is off to take up a post in Worcester City Council as Managng Director.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

National Award Shows County Is In Safe Hands

Update to 'County Council Leader Nominated For Award'.

‘Five years of exemplary leadership’ have been nationally-recognised as Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Cllr. Martin Hill OBE, Conservative (Folkingham Rural) is named ‘Leader of the Year’.

Over the past five years, Cllr. Hill’s inspirational leadership has won acclaim from staff, partner organisations and community groups, who acknowledge the council as a driving force behind progressive change. Now, Cllr. Hill has been selected from among a strong field of candidates as Leader of the Year at the Local Government information Unit (LGiU) Awards. The organisers were looking for a leader who listened to the concerns of all councillors, ensuring that competing voices and priorities were heard, while successfully addressing the concerns and aspirations of the local community.

Councillor Martin Hill said:

"I am honoured to accept this award. It is particularly meaningful because of the work the LGiU do themselves in championing local democracy and supporting the work of councils. I must say the shortlist looked particularly daunting, so to be the final recipient was an extremely pleasant surprise.
"There is no doubt that there will be more challenges to face in the future, and I would like to thank my political colleagues and officers at Lincolnshire County Council, without whom this journey would not continue to be possible."
Cllr. Hill became Leader of the Council in early 2005 and, supported by a new executive, set about transforming the entire ethos, performance and reputation of the authority. His inclusive approach healed deep divisions within and between political groups, encouraging constructive debate in place of acrimony. Meanwhile, innovative new scrutiny and councillor development arrangements enabled elected members to grow, energising the entire political function.

Among those supporting Cllr. Hill’s nomination was Rt. Rev. Dr. John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln, he said:

"Councillor Martin Hill has not only restored the efficiency and effectiveness of Lincolnshire County Council, he has restored its integrity. The way we do things round here is now much more transparent, inclusive and collaborative. The county owes a great debt of gratitude to Martin for his exemplary leadership over the last five years."
The Bishop's sentiments were shared by Cllr. David Parsons, Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association, who said:
"Martin Hill is an outstanding council leader. Under his leadership Lincolnshire County Council’s reputation has been transformed, locally, regionally and nationally. I was asked through the IDeA to work with Martin in the early stages of his leadership. I was therefore aware of the challenges he faced and was able to see at first hand how he set about establishing a new direction for the county council and how successful he has been in taking colleagues and partners with him."
Following last month’s Comprehensive Area Assessment, in which Lincolnshire County Council was praised for 'performing well', Cllr. Hill is now focusing on 'recession-proofing' plans to protect frontline services, while keeping council tax low, as the effects of the economic downturn continue to bite. Alongside this, he will be leading the development of a Sustainable Community Strategy, reflecting residents’ aspirations for the future.

Tourism Goes On Red Alert

Lincolnshire's multi-million pound tourism industry is set to get a boost from a new group set up in West Lindsey.

The Tourism Development Forum brings together all aspects of the tourism business to promote the area as a destination for visitors.

Chairman of the district council's Economic and Regeneration Committee, Cllr. Malcolm Parish, Conservative (Welton Ward) said:
"Members of the group include hoteliers, garden centre owners, proprietors of bed and breakfast businesses and people who run food outlets. In fact there a members from a whole host of tourism-related businesses.
"The aim is to promote tourism in as many ways of possible and for the group to work together to promote West Lindsey as a great place to visit."
The last Forum meeting was held at RAF Scampton when members were treated to a guided tour of the Red Arrows - the world famous aerobatic display team.

Owner of the Black Swan guest house in Marton, Mr. John Patrick, said:
"The visit was arranged by the Council and we are very lucky to have their direct involvement in tourism; because not all local authorities do."
The group is currently planning two training courses - one on marketing at the Beckett Arms in Corringham on Tuesday, 2nd March 2010, and the other on bed and breakfast profit at the Welton Manor Golf Centre on Tuesday 23rd March 2010.

Cllr. Parish said:
"Both events cost £15 per person and represent fantastic value for money. The marketing course examines latest trends on how to capture new customers and retain existing ones, how to maximise returns and how to make best use of the internet and social media.

"The bed and breakfast session includes sessions on stock control, minimising waste and menu planning that are all aimed at increasing profits."
The group is also planning a tourism brochure to be paid for by advertisers. Cllr. Parish said:
"The idea is to produce 7,000 brochures and each advertiser would have to pay at least £30 for their space. The brochures would be available at Tourist Information Centres, from car hire companies and at attractions including Market Rasen Racecourse, Gainsborough Old Hall and the Hemswell Antique and Craft Centre.

"We hope to be able to follow this up with another publication designed to help visitors tour our district whether they be on a day trip, a weekend visit or staying for a few days. The routes would be supported by advertisers.

"Tourism is the third largest foreign exchange earner in the United Kingdom and in West Lindsey alone it provides hundreds of jobs. It is important that we support tourism providers and I am sure that this Forum can play an important role in bringing more visitors to our district."

Monday, 22 February 2010

It's Official, West Lindsey Still In Growth Despite Recession

The latest figures recorded by the district council on business rates show an increase of 1.23% which equates to thirty-two additional businesses that have begun trading in the last financial year.

Chairman of the Economic and Regeneration Committee, Cllr. Malcolm Parish, Conservative (Welton Ward), said:
"The whole country has suffered a down turn during the recession and West Lindsey has been no exception to that.
"However, these figures show that overall our district is still growing and that is a tremendous feat which really does bode well for the future as trading conditions begin to ease."
Cllr. Parish was optimistic that growth would continue throughout the district - and particularly in Gainsborough.

"A £3 million facelift for the town centre is already underway which will make Gainsborough an even more attractive proposition for businesses and retailers.
"Key features of the plans are the use of York stone paving on the footpaths and in the pedestrian areas, timber seating, a performance area in front of the old Town Hall, improved lighting and signage, 'pop up' electricity supplies for the market and events, and new canopies for the market stalls.
"The project will reinstate the Market Place as a key focal point and provide a vital link between Marshall Yard and Riverside Walk and make the whole town even more attractive."
Gainsborough has been granted Growth Point status by the Government and the town is set to double in size over the next 20 years.

Police Scrutinise Hard-core Racists

Hard-core racists bent on a war against racial minorities are increasingly the subject of scrutiny of the police.

That is the finding of a new report by Nothing British and the Centre for Social Cohesion which is based on an analysis of activities by groups like Blood & Honour and Combat 18, and interviews with police officers close to the case.
Responding to coverage of the report in the News of the World, James Bethell, Director of Nothing British campaign, said:
"it is important that we remain vigilant towards people with an ideological commitment to creating violence between people of different races. In 2001 security services tracked young Islamist radicals at outward bound camps that seemed harmless at the time. Four years later, some of those men had become terrorists who sought to kill innocent civilians on July 7 and 21, 2005. We must not make the same mistake again."
Nothing British, in partnership with the Centre for Social Cohesion, have published a report by Edmund Standing and Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens that highlights the potential threat from white supremacists committed to an agenda of violence against racial minorities.
Denis MacShane MP, Labour (Rotherham) writes in the forward to the report,
"Like their jihadist counterparts, neo-Nazis are filled with hate, are conspiratorial and are prepared (and determined) to use extreme violence to achieve their political aims. If we want to reduce the threat we face from far-right extremism, it is imperative that new systems be put in place, allowing pre-emptive strikes against this budding threat."
The report lists three incidents of recent neo-Nazi-related threats:-

  • In July, Yorkshire police raided a neo-Nazi terror cell with international links. They seized the largest suspected terrorist arsenal since the IRA bombings of the early nineties. Twenty properties were raided and over three hundred weapons and eighty bombs were discovered by counter-terrorism detectives. The hardware included rocket launchers, grenades, pipe bombs and dozens of firearms. Several people were charged, and over thirty were questioned over the incident.
  • In September, Mr. Neil Lewington, a follower of Blood & Honour, was jailed indefinitely for attempting to launch a bombing campaign against non-white Britons. In his flat, police discovered a bomb-making factory and neo-Nazi literature. Court reports said that Lewington wanted to emulate his ‘heroes’ – Mr. David Copeland, the Soho bomber, and Mr. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma bomber.
  • In May, Mr. Terence Gavan, a card-carrying member of the BNP, was arrested after police raided his home. In January 2010, he was convicted on terrorism charges and sentenced to eleven years in prison, after a stockpile of nail and ball-bearing bombs, shotguns, improvised explosive devices and pistols was found at his house.

It is important not to over-estimate the threat of white supremacist violence from these groups. Islamist violence remains the highest threat. Police experience to date has shown that they splinter and squabble whenever any momentum develops. However, Police sources say that they are aware that circumstances could change and they invest appropriate resources in maintaining a responsible level of intelligence on these groups.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Champagne Socialists Disgrace Labour Party

The Mail on Sunday reports on what can only be described as the very definition of champagne socialism.

Two Labour parliamentarians took part in a champagne drinking contest on an official Commons junket to Paris, which led to one of them being violently ill.

Mr. Bill Etherington MP, Labour (Sunderland North) consumed so much champagn that a doctor was called as it was feared the parliamentarian might die after he defeated fellow parliamentarian Ms Geraldine Smith MP, Labour (Morecambe & Lunesdale), in an expenses-fuelled boozing competition.

Mr. Paul Flynn MP, Labour (Newport West), who was also attending the Council of Europe dinner is reported to have said that the meetings were a ‘pretext for shameless alcohol-fuelled jaunts’.

Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday here.

Friday, 19 February 2010

£100,000 Flood Scheme For Fiskerton

A £100,000 project could soon be underway to relieve Fiskerton of a flooding problem that has dogged the village for more than 20 years.

An open meeting has been called for Thursday 4th March 2010 to discuss innovative plans to intercept water from the north of the village and then divert it through existing pipes under the village - rather than through it - to the drains to the south and then out to the North Delph.

The meeting, in the village hall at 7.30pm, will seek support from the local community. If this is forthcoming the work could take place over two weeks in August later this year.

West Lindsey District Council, the Third Witham Internal Drainage Board, Morris Homes and the parish council have been working on a scheme to reduce the amount of ground water getting into the sewage and drainage systems to reduce the risk of flooding all over the village.

West Lindsey's Public Protection Manager, Mr. Chris Allen, said:
"There is still detailed design work to be done and some finance has yet to be secured.
"But if something is not done the problems will only get worse and the public meeting will be a chance for local people to get answers to their questions and be reassured about the project."
The new scheme is designed to resist a six hour storm with an additional 30% capacity built in to allow for climate change.

Mr. Allen added:
"The resilience of this proposed scheme far exceeds anything else being planned in the district with the period 2085 to 2115 being the storm event size, including climate change, that is being planned for.

"We believe the scheme will relieve at least six known problem areas in the village by allowing the existing systems to function normally. In turn this will allow us to focus our attention on repairs and upgrades that are actually needed."

EXCLUSIVE: Lincolnshire's Conservatives Welcome Rt. Hon. Sir John Major

Right: (Left to Right) Mr. David Surtees, Sir John Major, Cllr. Mrs. Meg Davidson, Conservative (Fiskerton Ward), and Mr. Peter McNeill.

Over four hundred Conservatives from across Lincolnshire came together last night to welcome the Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH, Conservative Prime Minister between 1990 and 1997, to a gala dinner at the Epic Centre, Lincolnshire Show Ground, North Carlton, to raise funds for the coming General Election later this year.

Left: Local Conservatives gather prior to dinner at the Epic Centre.

The evening was preceded by an exclusive cocktail reception hosted by Mr. Hugh Bourn, President of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society, followed by Pre-Dinner Drinks, of Buck's Fizz or Orange Juice, as the hundreds of Conservatives from Boston & Skegness, Brigg & Goole, Cleethorpes, Gainsborough, Grantham & Stamford, Great Grimsby, Lincoln, Scunthorpe, Sleaford & North Hykeham and South Holland & The Deepings constituencies.  Guests enjoyed a menu of Roast Plum Tomato Soup with Basil Herb Dumplings, Roast Rack of Pork followed by Crème Brulée and Coffee.

Right: Sir John addressing local Conservatives.

Sir John addressed the assembled throng and gave and excellent speech encouraging activists to always remember that it is too easy to talk of small government, low taxes, social responsibilityand loose ourselves to abstracts, that we must always ask 'how does what I do help ordinary people?' Sir John also answered questions from the floor. 
A raffle and silent auction was held which raised many thousands of pounds for local Conservative campaign funds.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Giles McNeill on LincsFM Radio

Following a stroll down the Bailgate, Lincoln earlier this afternoon I came across two journalists from LincsFM asking members of the public to answer a quick question to win a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Flowers by Suzanne. Needless to say I was asked:
"Can you name two animals that appear on the pub signs in the Bailgate?"
And answered:
"Lion and Snake."
Apparently this little recording will be on tonight around 7:20pm and tomorrow morning.

Find Out About New Way of Renting a Home

A new way of renting a home is being introduced throughout West Lindsey.

The district council and housing association Acis are bringing in Choice Based Lettings and consultation meetings are being held from next week to tell the public how it will work.

West Lindsey's housing and renewals service manager, Mr. Grant Lockett, explained:
"Choice Based Lettings is where landlords advertise available properties and applicants are asked to express their interest in - or bid for - the home they would like to live in.

"The idea is to make the process of registering for an affordable home as simple as possible and to give people greater choice in selecting where and in what type of property they want to live in."
Drop In sessions where people can find out more are planned as follows:
  • Monday, 22nd February, Drakes Court, Caistor 4 - 7pm
  • Tuesday, 23rd February, Engine Room, Gainsborough 10am - 1pm
  • Tuesday, 23rd February, Community Centre, Park Springs 5 - 7pm
  • Wednesday 24th February, Saxilby Village Hall 2 - 4pm
  • Thursday 25th February, Fletcher Court, Market Rasen 10am - 1pm
  • Friday, 26th Februar, Fiskerton Village Hall 11am - 1pm

The new lettings policy is due to be introduced late this year. More details can be found at or by calling the housing team on (01427) 676676.




Monday, 15 February 2010

Liberal Democrats Declare Four Demands For Coalition Government

The Guardian has an important story today. The Liberal Democrats reportedly do not want seats around the Cabinet table in the event of a hung parliament but do not want progress in four areas.
  1. Investing extra funds in education through a pupil premium for disadvantaged children. This is already the Michael Gove, Conservative (Surrey Heath) and the Conservative Party's policy and Labour could certainly agree to this demand.
  2. Tax reform, taking 4 million out of tax and raising taxes on the rich by requiring capital gains and income to be taxed at the same rate. Many Conservatives would welcome such a policy and Edward Leigh MP, Conservative (Gainsborough) proposed it three years ago, although funded in a different way.
  3. Rebalancing of the economy to put less emphasis on centralised banking and more on a new greener economy. It is not clear what is meant by 'centralised banking' but a move toward a greener economy would doubtlessly be a commitment that both the Conservative and Labour Party's could make.
  4. Political reforms, including changes to the voting system and a democratically elected Lords, that go further than proposed by Labour. Labour will probably be more willing to embrace electoral reform than the Conservatives (86% of Tory members oppose Proporation Representaton) but the Conservatives could offer more on civil liberties.
Update: 19:00 15/02/10 
Interviewed on BBC Radio 4's World at One Vince Cable MP, Liberal Democrat (Twickenham), Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, poured cold water on story. He said that in the last month The Guardian had said that the Liberal Democrats were likely to back the Conservatives and then to back Labour. Now reporters at The Guardian who have 'vivid imaginations' had written that the Liberal Democrats had ruled out joining a coalition. Nothing had been ruled in and nothing ruled out. He said that the party which emerged strongest from the election would have the 'impetus' to take a lead in arranging any deal.

Acknowledgement: ConservativeHome | LeftWatch | 14/02/10

Sunday, 14 February 2010

GE2010: Lincoln: Mixed Response To Lincoln's First General Election Debate

Mr. Jack Dobson at The Linc reports that there were mixed feelings towards the debate on higher education, held by Lincoln Students’ Union on Thursday, 11th February 2010 at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre's Auditorum.

The Students' Union invited all the declared prospective parliamentary candidates to debate with students and academics.
  • Ms Gillian Merron MP, Labour (Lincoln) - Minister of State for Public Health
  • Mr. Karl McCartney, Conservative
  • Cllr. Reg Shore, Liberal Democrat (Skellingthorpe & South Hykeham Division) and (Stow Ward) - Leader of the Opposition on West Lindsey District Council.
Right: The three candidates and panel chairman Mr. Ryan Blackburn. (Photo by: Dec Ackroyd) 

Mr. Dobson reports that while some praised it as a good opportunity to ask questions, others scorned it, saying the candidates avoided the main questions, and were left feeling disappointed.

Miss Siobhan Bligh is one of those left feeling frustrated and The Linc quote her as saying:
"I think it was a chance for the politicians to say an awful lot of rhetoric and avoid talking about policies – the chair could have done better in getting the candidates to answer questions."
Mr. Huseyin Kishi, a first-year journalism student, is reported to have said he was disappointed with the debate, and felt the 'MPs evaded questioning.' While Mr. Nick Carey, a second-year politics student, is reported to have said:
"All three candidates seemed to be pathologically incapable of answering questions."
Mr. Chris Charnley, the Students' Union’s President, said:
"It was excellent that students were given the opportunity to ask questions – it was a healthy debate with great questions and a great turnout too."
Ms Merron declared:
"It was really worthwhile. The students weren’t afraid to ask difficult questions."
Mr. Ryan Blackburn, Vice President for Education and Democracy at Bishop Grosseteste University College Students’ Union, who chaired the debate. was reported to have said:
"It was a wonderful opportunity for students to question their parliamentary candidates
"I think a lot of questions were led away from the main subject."
The agreed format of the deabte was that each candidate had five minutes to give an introduction and explain their stance and their party’s stance on higher education.

Mr. McCartney was first and immediately attacked Labour’s efforts to date, suggesting that they had failed education by saying
"some children at 16 still can’t read.
"Three hundred thousand people are projected to not get a place at university this year".
Mr. McCartney specified to the audience that the Conservative Party's policy is to remove the cap on students in universities and said he was 'worried with how education is currently going'. He added:
"I enjoyed university, I think it should be available to anyone that wants to do it."
Ms Merron followed and defended her party’s contribution to education in Lincoln so far, stating that:
"Over one hundred million pounds has been invested by the government into the university since 1997."
Ms Merron is reported to have apologised for not being able to sign the pledge due to an independent investigation in education spending being made, but said the current system is 'much fairer than it used to be'.

"I don’t want to see university only for those who can afford it, and the door slammed in the face of others. That’s why I oppose the Tories plan to give discounts to wealthy graduates who pay their loans back early. – This election is going to be a real choice,"
Cllr. Shore, Mr. Dobson notes, started by painting a grim picture.
"We are here against the depressing background of a failing economy – the impact on young people was far reaching, and the future of the nation lies in your hands."
He condemned Labour for causing the deficit in university placements, and the Conservatives for not opposing their policies, suggesting that their own education policies do not differ.

Cllr. Shore, The Linc says, spoke to the audience about how students will be burdened with debt for almost their whole lives, and will believe 'blindly' that the Conservatives will 'rescue them'. Cllr. Shore went on to say that the biggest part of the Liberal Democrats’ budget would be education, and vow to remove tuition fees, as they have in Scotland - Although this is no longer the party's policy as it is unaffordable and surely the NHS (at over £100 billion pounds a year) will be the the main part of the UK's budget for years to come.

The floor was opened for questions, where Mr. Ernest Charles, English Democrats, ambushed the debate by beginning a long speech of his own. When asked by Mr. Blackburn to make a question, he retorted:
"Okay, but it will be a very long question"
He continued with his speech.

The candidates were pressed with a variety of questions. Aaron Porter, Vice-President for the National Union of Students, attacked the candidates with questions, accusing Mr. McCartney of a 'lack of contribution to the discussion and a general lack of policy ideas'. He also assaulted the Liberal Democrats for 'u-turning' on their free education policy, and Labour for allowing Lord Mandelson to sacrifice public services and education so willingly.

Lincoln Students' Union went on the attack, gunning for Ms Merron, as both Mr. Chris Charnley and Mr. Dan Derricott, who is a student officer, pressed her for answers to the potential bursary cuts. Ms Merron is reported to have skillfully dodged answering the queston, much to Mr. Derricott’s evident annoyance.

After the ninety minute session, the candidates were given two minutes to make a closing speech, where Ms Merron said:
"I think this debate has shown the need to be realistic – I would never promise something that couldn’t be achieved."
Mr. McCartney, true to form, continued to attack Labour with more statistics, and Cllr. Shore talked about his worries for the future under a Labour or Conservative government - so nothing nuanced from any of them.

Mr. Blackburn finished the debate by declaring it:
"A wonderful sign that students here want to get involved, want to get talking and want to ask the diffucult questions."

"This is our country, these are our politicians, it’s our vote and we need a government we can trust. So get out there, ask the questions, find the answers, and make an informed decision."
Audio from this event is included in The Linc's weekly podcast Week In Review available here

New Duo At Nettleham Football Club Aim For Success

New Joint-Managers of Nettleham Football Club, Mr. Darren Chapman and Mr. Mostyn Chester hope to bring the success to the club which the late Mr. Rick Mason, who passed away shortly before Christmas, deserved for his hard work.

Messrs. Chapman & Chester have taken over as permanent managers at the club based at Mulsanne Park, Nettleham. The pair took charge of their first game last Saturday. Mr. Chapman, a centre-back in his playing days, and Mr. Chester, who was a goalkeeper, are well known on the local football scene, and have previously managed Lincoln Moorlands Reserves, helping them to a top four finish in the Central Midlands League Reserves Division in the 2006/2007 season.

Mr. Chapman admits they have a tough task ahead, with Nettleham currently bottom of the league, with just three wins from twenty-three games. Quoted in the Lincolnshire Echo he says they have ambitious plans for the club:
"It's not ideal circumstances to get the manager's job with Rick's death, but we're very excited about taking the club on. Rick always had the club in his best interests. He worked so hard for Nettleham.

"We're just hoping we can come in and bring the success to Nettleham that Rick deserved for the hard work he put in.

"The ultimate aim is to do what Lincoln Moorlands have done and move up the football pyramid, but it is going to take time and a lot of hard work.

"Nettleham is a club which does not have much money. They have struggled at this level for a while.

"We hope to bring a bit more excitement to the club and get a few more people through the turnstiles."
Mr. Chapman is reported to have said they are already looking to bring in some new players.

"We met a lot of the players at training on Wednesday and we've inherited a good set of lads. But one of the main problems is that the squad isn't big enough.

"There are a few players in the squad who have work commitments and aren't available every week and that can cause problems with such a small squad.

"You hope with new managers coming there will a response from the players."

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Four Councillors Referred to Standards Board for England

The Lincolnshire Echo reports today that for members of West Lindsey District Council have been referred to the Standards Board for England.

The, recently elected, Leader of the Council, Cllr. Adam Duguid, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward) together with colleague Cllr. Malcolm Parish, Conservative (Welton Ward) and Independent Group Leader Cllr. Bernard Theobald, Independent (Wold View Ward) and Cllr. Stuart Kinch, Independent, (Torkesy Ward) face allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

The Standards Board has confirmed it is assessing a request to investigate allegations against Cllr. Theobald, Cllr. Duguid, Cllr. Stuart Kinch and Cllr Parish. The cases of the four men were referred to the national board by the district council's own standards committee.

Spokesman for West Lindsey District Council, Geoff O'Neill is reported to have confirmed to the paper that the complaints had been made by the Liberal Democrat Group and outgoing Chief Executive Mr. Duncan Sharkey, who it is understood had an increasingly strained relationship with Cllr. Theobald during his leadership of the authority.

As previously reported in the paper, Cllr. Duguid admitted meeting a council officer who had been suspended as part of an on-going inquiry into fraud and mismanagement allegations made against the authority's planning department. Leader of the Opposition, Cllr. Reg Shore, Liberal Democrat (Stow Ward) later alleged at a full council meeting that both Cllr. Parish and Cllr. Theobald were also present at this meeting. The Liberal Democrat Group at West Lindsey will want to make as much hay from this matter as possible in preparation for local elections on Thursday, 6th May 2010. They are fighting to regain control of the authority, which they lost two years ago, and have been sliding backwards, with two by-election defeats and one resignation, ever since.

The second issue which may require an investigation concerns a controversial planning application submitted by Cllr. Theobald to develop a house on land owned by himself, Cllr. Kinch and their respective wives.

West Lindsey District Council Leader Cllr. Duguid is reported to have said he was not surprised the issues were being investigated by the Standards Board and accepted he had made a mistake.

Friday, 12 February 2010

West Lindsey Consults About Where Gypsies and Travellers Pitches Should Go

A second stage of consultation to find the best locations for sites for additional gypsy and traveller pitches in West Lindsey was launched at the beginning of February.

The East Midlands Regional Plan says that a minimum of 22 more pitches have to be found in the district and the consultation also invites comments on the criteria that should be applied to proposed new sites.

Local people have until Friday, 19th March 2010 to comment.

General locations for sites have been identified on the basis of accessibility to existing services and facilities. Areas under consideration are:
  • Land within 2.5 kilometres from Brigg, Gainsborough, Lincoln and Market Rasen
  • Land within 2.5 kilometres of the centre of Caistor and those villages that are classified as Primary Rural Settlements and at least have a general store and a school. These villages are:
    • North Kelsey
    • Scotter
    • Blyton
    • Morton
    • Hemswell Cliff
    • Ingham
    • Middle Rasen
    • Welton
    • Dunholme
    • Saxilby
    • Nettleham
    • Reepham
    • Cherry Willingham
    • Fiskerton
    • Bardney
As a guideline it is suggested that no site near a town should exceed 12 pitches, and that any proposed sites near villages, and Caisitor which is much smaller than the other towns, should not be larger than five pitches.

Consultation Forms are available on request from (01427) 676567 or by email from

Interim Planning Manager John Ware, said:
"We are keen to receive people's views about the proposed locations and site related considerations together with any supporting factual information - for example related to existing sites and their occupation. Details of other sites that people think might be suitable for further provision would also be welcome"
The subject of gypsy and traveller sites can be emotional and misunderstood, so West Lindsey has organised workshops for its own staff, councillors and parish councillors so they can better understand the issues and how to resolve them.

This consultation provides a further opportunity to consider the best general locations for future provision before individual sites are considered and the Council looks forward to receiving people's views.

To find out more visit

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Circus To Pitch Big Top In Waddington

Update to 'No Circus For Nettleham' and 'Is The Circus Coming To Town?'.

The Great British Circus, which had approached Nettleham Parish Council to potentially lease Mulsanne Park, which uses lions, tigers and other animals in performances, will be pitching up in Waddington later this month.
The circus' imminent arrival has generated a storm of opposition from locals and animal rights campaigners. Activists say they are outraged that the group still uses animals, while residents say the circus will be too noisy and clog up local roads during its three-week stay.

Bosses at the circus insist they adhere to world-class standards in looking after their animals; however, opponents are still hoping they can halt the plans before the circus arrives on Sunday 21st February 2010.

Mr. David McKennacorrect, a resident from Hobart Close in Waddington, said 'one-hundred and one percent' of his village was against it.
"We are going to do our damnedest to stop this."
"The whole thing will be a disaster."

New Swine Flu Advice

From tomorrow (Thursday, 11th February 2010) people who think they have Swine Flu are being urged to contact their doctor by phone.

The advice follows the continuing reduction in the number of swine flu cases in the United Kingdom and around the world which means the National Pandemic Flu Service will also stand down on Thursday and the 24-hour hotline and website will close.

After the telephone contact doctors will issue a voucher for anti virals (tamiflu) to be collected by the patient's flu friend - someone who does not have the virus.

West Lindsey's Public Protection Services Manager, Mr. Chris Allen said:
"We are fortunate that swine flu has not affected as many people as the health experts first thought and we have in place business continuity plans to ensure we can maintain essential services to the community throughout any future epidemic.

"I would like to thank all residents who acted as flu friends for family, friends and neighbours showing the strength of our community in West Lindsey."
The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, described the current levels of pandemic flu as 'very low' and the second wave of swine flu that began in Autumn was 'virtually over.'

Swine flu has claimed four hdrd and eleven lives in the United Kingdom and more than fifteen thousand around the world - much lower numbers of cases than was original feared. Some one hundred and twenty-four people remain in hospital in the United Kingdon and twenty-four of them are described as critical. However, the five thousand reported cases a week in the United Kingdom is well below the seasonal average for flu-like symptoms.

Health bosses have advised that residents in the following at-risk groups should still be immunised:
  • Children over six months but under five years
  • Pregnant women
  • People who live with immuno-compromised individuals.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Eureka! Timetable for Lincoln to London Direct Train Service Announced

On Sunday, 22nd May 2011 the biggest timetable change for twenty years is due to come into effect. This change will see more seats, more services and faster journeys on most routes.

The proposed timetable has been developed by the industry over the past decade. So significant and dynamic is the change it has been branded 'Eureka!' in order to signify how much the project is a major breakthrough for the flagship East Coast Main Line.

Yesterday local commuters at Lincoln Central Station learnt details of the new direct Lincoln to London train services scheduled, following a six month delay, to begin in net year. A total of fourteen services between London and Lincoln will operate in addition to the current East Coast service via Nottingham.

The typical journey time to London will be approximately one hour and fifty minutess which is at least one hour faster than current direct service operated by East Midlands Trains and shaves fifteen minutes off a passengers journey who elects to change trains at Newark.

The average journey time from London will be one hour forty-five minutes, again besting by at least one hour the current direct service operated by East Midlands Trains.

This is a new service from East Coast and provides a major improvement for Lincolnshire's transport links to the capital.

The first train of the day is proposed to depart Lincoln for the capitol at 07:22 arriving at 09:18 whilst the final train of the day would depart at 19:25 arriving at 21:20.

European Conservatives & Reformist Group Abstains On New European Commission

The European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) in the European Parliament has abstained in today's vote on the new European Commission, saying that it cannot offer the same confidence in the new college as a whole as it has in President Barroso.

Following the vote, ECR Chairman, Mr. Michal Kaminski MEP said:

"The 'take it or leave it' nature of the confirmation vote has meant that we must assess the college as a whole. This is lamentable because there were strong candidates who we would have endorsed, and weak candidates who we would have opposed.

"In today's vote we have signalled our support for President Barroso, expressed our concerns about the competence of some of the new commissioners, and conveyed our criticism of the confirmation procedure."
Mr. Timothy Kirkhope MEP, ECR Deputy Chairman, said:
"Having been instrumental in President Barroso's re-election we still have total confidence in him. However, we do not yet have full confidence in his entire team.

"During the hearings, some of the candidates veered away from the Political Guidelines that President Barroso himself set out for his commission's second term. We will work with President Barroso to deliver those aspects of his agenda on which we can agree, but in some cases we were concerned that members of the commission were planning to pursue their own political agendas, even before they were sworn into office."
ECR Vice-President Mr. Jan Zahradil MEP said:

"Some national governments are culpable of not sending the best person for the job, instead opting for political expediency.

"However, now that the commission has been adopted, we do not intend to go into detail regarding those candidates that caused concern. Instead, we will look ahead to a constructive relationship with the new commission in order to deliver our programme of reform for the EU."
Mr. Derk Jan Eppink MEP, who sat through twelve commissioner hearings, said:
"We intend to campaign for reform of the commissioner confirmation procedure. It is imperative that next time the parliament can assess each candidate individually on his or her merits so that national governments think twice about who they send."

Lincoln Eastern Bypass Planning Application Goes Public

Progress towards a Lincoln Eastern Bypass has reached the next stage, as Lincolnshire County Council’s planning application goes out for public consultation.

Copies of the application, plans, environmental statement and supporting documents are now available to view and comment on throughout February.

Mr. Alan Freeman, Head of Spatial Planning at Lincolnshire County Council said:
"The planning application for the Lincoln Eastern Bypass is now available for public viewing. Following this consultation, a report will be compiled by the county council's planning department and submitted for consideration to the Planning and Regulation Committee in late Spring."
The authority has applied for permission to build a road from the A158 Wragby Road in the north, crossing over the River Witham on a new bridge and continuing south to end at the A15 Sleaford Road, east of Bracebridge Heath. The new road would also have junctions with Greetwell Road, B11990 Washingborough and B118 to Branston.

The application can be viewed by clicking here and searching for 'Eastern Bypass' or at the offices of Lincolnshire County Council, Spatial Planning, Witham Park House, Waterside South, Lincoln, LN5 7JN or at the offices of City of Lincoln Council, North Kesteven District Council and West Lindsey District Council.

The proposed Lincoln Eastern Bypass is intended to reduce traffic congestion in Lincoln city centre and help Lincoln to grow as a regional centre. It is also aimed at opening up land for development to the east of the city and encouraging the use of public transport, cycling and walking.

Central Lincolnshire Planning Committee Set Sights on Local Development Framework

Local people can now see how Central Lincolnshire is set to shape up as the area's inter-authority planning committee kicks-off its first major project.

The Central Lincolnshire Planning Committee has approved its Local Development Scheme - its first major project since forming in November 2009.

Vice Chairman of the Central Lincolnshire Planning Committee and Leader of the City of Lincoln Council, Cllr. Darren Grice, Conservative (Bracebrdge Ward) said:
"The approval of this first key document is a real milestone for the Committee and shows how partners are committed to delivering co-ordinated developments and decisions across the whole area."
The Local Development Scheme outlines a three-year timetable for the production of the Local Development Framework that will be prepared for Central Lincolnshire. It sets out the current Development Plan and the schedule of proposed local development documents.

In addition, the Local Development Scheme highlights other schemes that will start after the first three years. It is hoped this forward-thinking approach will make sure all partners are fully prepared to carry out future projects.

Cllr. Grice stated that:
"The LDS brings together the aspirations of all partners, and with a number of major schemes set to develop in the near future, it ensures areas within and beyond authorities' boundaries are developed consistently and efficiently."
People can see the full LDS by visiting North Kesteven District, West Lindsey District, City of Lincoln or Lincolnshire County Councils' websites.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

GE2010: Oh Dear! Past and Future Cross Paths in Lincoln

Yesterday activists from the Conservative Party's youth movement - Conservative Future - met at the White Hart Hotel in the Bailgate, Lincoln.

Right: Young Conservatives enjoy lunch at the Grille resturant in the White Hart Hotel, Lincoln.

Chairmen from the various branches that constitute Lincolnshire Conservative Future met with the Area Officer team: Area Chairman Mr. Reza Shah, Area Vice-Chairman Mr. Simon Cavalier-Jones, who is also Conservative Future - East Midlands Deputy Regional Chairman and Area Vice Chairman Mr. Giles McNeill and disscussed successes in recent months and how moving forward, towards a general election, how Lincolnshire Conservative Future can best support Conservative candidates.

Mr. David Cameron MP, Leader of the Conservative Party, sent a personal note of support. Mr. Hamish Stewart, Regional Chairman of Conservative Future - East Midlands was in attendance. Cllr. Mrs. Rachel Hubbard, Conservative (Lincoln Bracebridge Division), Deputy Chairman (Political) of the Lincolnshire County Committee also attended.

Regional Campaign Director, Mr. David Surtees, gave a positive vision of how in the next thirteen weeks Conservative Future activists had their unique role to play.

Mr. Karl McCartney, Conservative, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Lincoln made a brief stop around lunchtime at the meeting; between a busy day of canvassing in the morning and leafleting in the afternoon. His incumbent opponent must be in a more relaxed mood about her prospects as Ms Gillian Merron MP, Labour (Lincoln) was in the bar at the White Hart from around three o'clock for a good hour that afternoon; if her opponent is working so hard, has she simply given up?

Conservative Future is the movement for under 30s, including all members of the Conservative Party of this age. Conservative Future is the largest youth political organisation in the UK.

The organisation is all about involving young people in politics and addressing the issues that matter to them.

With over 15,000 members across the country, Conservative Future runs a range of events and activities, from policy discussions to social gatherings. Many of these are organised by individual branches, which are based in cities, constituencies and on campuses. Members of Conservative Future also have the opportunity to get involved in campaign activity – supporting and standing as Conservative candidates in elections at all levels, from student politics to Westminster.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Not a Disaster, Just a Catastrophe!

Had we joined the euro, the British economy would now be a catastrophe according to David Davis MP, Conservative (Haltemprice & Howden), who wrote in yesterday's Evening Standard, speculating about the economic state in which we would find ourselves, had Britain signed up to the Euro. He wrote:
"Our already damaged economy would have been crippled by a fixed exchange rate set by the so-called 'successes' of the financial sector. Instead, when our financial sector collapsed, the pound fell. Outside the euro, sterling has been trading at a competitive level in global currency markets. British exports remained at attractive prices while euro-denominated goods raced to all-time highs against the pound and the dollar in 2009. This is the main reason we had a record manufacturing upturn in January, and without the beginnings of that upturn we would have still been in recession. In Greece, Ireland and Spain, all in the eurozone, manufacturing is struggling. The biggest of these, Spain, is unlikely to see an economic recovery this year.

"So managing our own currency is critical to our ability to compete. Giving up our currency would also have meant giving up to the European Central Bank our ability to control interest rates. The ECB has kept interest rates significantly higher than rates in the UK. The Bank of England has kept our rates low and pumped money into the economy, allowing companies to absorb the shock of recession and start to recover. None of this would have been possible had we joined the euro."
It should not be forgotten that whilst the 1990s were not the Conservative Party's finest hour electorally, the party's campaign against British membership of the Euro was utterly in tune with the view of the British public, at a time when both Labour and the Liberal Democrats would have ditched the Pound if they thought they could have got away with it. Without the Conservative Party's determined opposition to the Euro during William Hague's time as leader of the party, Tony Blair would have been able to abolish our currency and the consequences would have been dire.

Specials Out In Force

Lincolnshire's Special Constabulary will be out in force this weekend as part of the National Specials Weekend. The aim of the nationwide event is to raise awareness of the vital work carried out by volunteer police officers.

This year, the theme of the weekend is roads policing initiatives. Special Constabulary officers will be carrying out enforcement and educational activity, aimed at enhancing the police's operational delivery.
Lincolnshire Police currently has one hundred and fifty Special Constabulary officers spread across the three divisional areas. It is understood that the force is keen to increase this number to 250 by the end of this year by recruiting more people to join up.

Specials Constables are part of local Neighbourhood Policing Teams and voluntarily work alongside officers of the regular force with other experienced Specials. Training on appointment involves seven weekends at the Force Headquarters in Nettleham, followed by an ongoing training programme delivered on a local basis.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Video Blog #11 - Linelands Care Home Consultation

The Lincolnshire Echo is today reporting that campaigners who are trying to prevent council care home changes in Lincolnshire have made a 'Save Our Services' rallying call.

The impassioned plea was made as residents in Nettleham, north of Lincoln, met yesterday in protest at the county council's plans to replace eight care homes with privately-run provisions.

Linelands, in Nettleham, is one of the facilities which would be affected by the authority's proposals but people who use the service within the village say turning day care and respite centres into state-of-the-art residential care homes is unnecessary.

The authority's executive is expected to vote on the proposals in April, when feedback from public consultations to be considered.

Mrs. Elaine Smith, from Ashby-de-la-Launde, south of Lincoln said she was hopeful the meeting at the Black Horse pub, in Nettleham, would be the first step in allowing campaign groups from across the county to join together against the proposed redevelopment. Her mother, Mrs. Lilian Smithson, needs regular care, is quoted in the paper as saying:
"There have been public meetings and the council has come round and given its spiel about what the plans are, but there has been a lot of opposition to what the council is saying."
Lincolnshire County Council executive member for adult social care, Cllr Graham Marsh, is quoted saying:

"These are exciting plans which will change the type of support available for those using our services and provide people with better options."
Have your say on the consultation at

Free Car Parking on Saturday Afternoons

Shoppers in Gainsborough are to enjoy free parking on Saturday afternoons starting this week.
All the town centre car parks are covered by the scheme which is designed to support shops and market traders during the £3,000,000 refurbisment of the Market Place.

Chairman of West Lindsey District Council's Economic and Regeneration Committee, Cllr, Malcolm Parish, Conservative (Welton Ward) said:
"The new-look town centre will be a fantastic improvement for Gainsborough which will be enjoyed by local people and be an added attraction for visitors.

"But in the short-term there will inevitably be some disruption and we feel that by making parking free from 1pm on Saturdays we are going some way towards helping traders in what is already a difficult economic time."
The refurbishment work is scheduled to last until June, and the free parking concession is expected to cost the Council between £3,000 and £4,000 in lost revenue.

Cllr. Parish added: "
The car parks which will be free after 1pm on Saturdays are: North Street, Ship Court, Roseway, Bridge Street and the multi-storey in Beaumont Street.

"Clear signage is being put up to stress when payment is not necessary and I am sure people will take advantage of the opportunity to shop without having to pay to park."
The town centre refurbishment scheme is already underway and will provide a new-look Market Place with something for everyone.

New features will include designated seating areas, access to wifi and a space for entertainment by performance groups.

Cllr Parish said:
"Since Marshall's Yard opened in 2007 more and more people have been visiting Gainsborough. Now we want to bring the rest of the town up to the same standard and really show what we have on offer."
The project will initially focus on Market Place, Silver Street and Lord Street and further work will take place in Market Street and Church Street subject to funding.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

No Circus For Nettleham

Update to 'Is The Circus Coming To Town?'.

At last night's Nettleham Parish Council the meeting was informed that the request to place a circus at Mulsanne Park had been withdawn.

Cllr. McNeill said:
"The poll on this site, while having only a very small number of votes cast showed a relatively even spit between those in favour (7 votes) and those against (9 votes). There will obviously be people who are disappointed and those who are pleased, but the decision was taken out of our hands."