Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Big Improvement Plans for Gainsborough

The cost of bringing all homes in Gainsborough's South West Ward up to the national Decent Homes Standard has been estimated at £5.5 million.

The figure is contained in a Neighbourhood Renewal Assessment commissioned by West Lindsey District Council aimed at making improvements to the whole area.

The report says that on average each property in need of work will cost £6,300 to repair and it is envisaged that only a very small number of properties will need to be demolished - instead the emphasis is likely to be on retro-fitting existing properties to bring them up to scratch.

At a meeting of the Economic Development and Regeneration Committee, councillors agreed to take the next step towards making improvements by holding an open day with residents to discuss the options and gather local views.

Housing and Renewal Manager, Mr. Grant Lockett said:
"The consultation report confirms much of what we already thought. The area contains 1,390 homes and 75% of them are terraced with 85% built before 1919.

"Much of the area has little or no open space or play areas and there is not much in the way of off road parking.

"Sadly, the most common type of crime in the area is criminal damage and this is a common finding in areas with high levels of deprivation."
The area also suffers from high levels of unemployment (7.5% compared to the West Lindsey average of 5.9%) and it is officially the most deprived area in the district. House prices are 38% lower than the district average and 52% below the national average.

Mr. Lockett added: "
In general, local people like the area, they find it friendly with a real sense of community with good access to shops and takeaways.

"And what most people seem to be agreed on is that more green space and children's play areas would be a great boost as would a really good clean up which would improve the way people feel.

"There is quite a lot of litter in the area and when this is coupled with a large number of run down properties there is a feeling that no-one cares - which is really unfair because we believe the residents really do care."
Sadly, consultation has revealed that 50% of over 75s feel very unsafe but any idea that young people are the main 'threat' does not hold true as 35% of them said they too feel unsafe on the streets.

Chairman of the Economic Development and Regeneration Committee, Cllr. Jeff Summers, Conservative (Waddingham & Spital Ward) said that the survey had also revealed that 42% of residents were receiving benefits, 15% were disabled, 25% had an income of less than £10,000 and there is a broad range of house types and ages.

"Throughout the consultation, unemployment was a common factor and many thought this was the major contributor to many of the other issues suffered in the area. More than 70% of people thought that unemployment was a big problem.

"People told us that the main barriers to getting a job were the low number of opportunities available, poor transport links, a low skills and education base and a benefit culture which means there is little incentive for people to find work."
Another plus point was that 57% of people in the area believed the police are providing an above average service and 58% believe that the refuse collection service is above average.

But dog fouling, vandalism and the misuse of drugs were all considered to be problems and more than half the business owners felt the Council could do more to help them make improvements to commercial buildings.

In terms of the homes themselves, the survey revealed that 90% of properties would benefit from having new central heating installed. This would also improve the energy efficiency and reduce running costs to householders.

The major hazard of excess cold was found in 48% of properties, 35% had a danger of a fall on the stairs and 15% had the danger of a fall on the level. There were also major problems with electrical hazards, food safety and the presence of carbon monoxide.

As a result of all these issues, the average price of a house in the area in 2009 was £61879 - well below the national average of £160,000 and the Lincolnshire average of just under £130,000.

Cllr. Summers added:
"There is no doubt that there is much to be done in South West Ward but we believe that with the co-operation and understanding of local residents we can make real and very tangible improvements."

Friday, 25 June 2010

Lincolnshire Show Is Success As Sun Shines On County

The 126th Lincolnshire Show has attracted a record breaking attendance of sixty-eith thousand people who have basked in the sunshine at this year's event. Organised by the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society, the annual tradition, which dates back seven hundred years, is said to be responsible for bringing £12 million into the local economy.

A consultation is under way that could result in the show being moved to coincide with the weekend from 2012. This will enable more families to visit without taking time off from work or school.

Mr. Charles Hood, Show Director for the sixth and final year, said he felt he was bowing out in a blaze of glory. He said, as well as the many attractions pulling in the crowds such as live entertainment and sporting activities for youngsters, it was events such as the Grand Parade displaying the best of the county's livestock that cement the tradition of the show.

Visitors to the West Lindsey District Council's marquee were able to see what services the council provides, ask questions, seek advice and enter a few competitions.
Chairman of West Lindsey Cllr Owen Bierley, Conservative (Yarborough Ward) said:
"The show is a good showcase for West Lindsey. We have had a lot of good interaction with members of the public.

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped make the show a big success."
Cllr. Alf Frith, Liberal Democrat (Nettleham Ward) and his wife Margaret said they thoroughly enjoy the annual event. He said:
"It is great seeing people face to face, to talk directly about any issues they may have."

Direct Train Services May Arrive In Lincoln

The Lincolnshire Echo today exclusely reveal that direct train services between Lincoln and London could be saved – if a new train operator throws its hat into the ring.

As reported in the last week, East Coast will save £9 million a year by running just one daily return service to and from King's Cross from May next year, instead of the seven originally planned. Most passengers from Lincoln will have to travel to Newark to catch onward trains.

Passengers can currently use East Midlands Trains' much slower direct service to St Pancras, which takes two hours and 50 minutes, departing Lincoln at 7.08am and leaving London at 6.30pm. Now, it has emerged that Grand Central is interested in taking on the direct Lincoln to London services abandoned by East Coast.

Managing director Tom Clift made the revelation at a recent meeting of Railfuture Yorkshire.

Grand Central runs the Sunderland to Kings Cross and West Riding to London services as open access services. This is when the operator receives no taxpayer support and operates services at its own commercial risk.

It would run the Lincoln to London services in the same way.

Grand Central spokeman Rupert Brennan Brown said the company would be looking at using the paths, or slots in the timetable, that East Coast is vacating.

"As I understand it, East Coast is proposing one train in the morning and one train in the evening between Lincoln and London and four return services from London to Newark.

"It is Grand Central's contention that this is not the best use of these paths and that it may be possible to serve other places by extending the trains beyond Newark.

"At the moment, we are trying to get clarity as to what the final proposed timetable is.

"There was a suggestion it would cost £9 million to run the services that have now been scaled down. We are trying to find out what opportunities there might be for us as an open access operator, which is not supported by the taxpayer."
Network Rail spokesman Rachel Lowe said timetabling decisions would be needed before a company could operate.
"Various train operators, whether they be franchises or open access, will be putting bids in for paths.

"If full agreement about timetabling, given the restraints of the network, cannot be made locally, the Office of Rail Regulation will have the final say on who gets to run what services."

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Benefit cheat is paying back more than £20,000

A mother of two, who is paying back more than £20,000 in benefits she was not entitled to, escaped a prison sentence.

Ms Kerry Codd 25, of Church Road, Bircotes, pleaded guilty at Lincoln Magistrates Court, to two counts of failing to notify of a change in circumstances, which affected her entitlement to housing and council tax benefit.


The prosecution was brought by West Lindsey District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions. The offence occurred when Ms Codd lived in Gainsborough.


Mr. David Payne, prosecuting said:
"The defendant failed to inform the affected bodies her partner had returned to live with her.


"He was in full time employment at the time, which was paid into a joint bank account."
The overpayment of £23,717.19 took place between 7th June 2004 to 31st October 2007.


It included the following:
  • Income support - £10,020.87
  • Housing benefit - £11,419.68
  • Council tax benefit -£2,276.64

Defending, Mr. Lloyd Edwards, said she is paying back the overpayments. He said:
"She had a difficult time with her previous partner who left suddenly and reappeared on the scene.

"She was not sure he would stay and she delayed reporting it and delayed it."
Mr. Edwards explained she is with a new partner now and has two young children. He added:
"This was out of character."
District Judge, Richard Blake said:
"Many people are managing in the community on low income and not cheating on benefits.

"What you did was a cheat on the system.

"I accept it was to provide for your family and that you have done the best to make amends as you are paying it back."
He gave her 12 weeks in prison for each offence, suspended for a year. And a 12 month supervision order to run concurrently.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Karl Demands Superscript 'C' Scorned By The Independent

The Independent today reports that Karl McCartney, the recently elected Member of Parliament for Lincoln, has entered Parliament determined to deal with a pressing issue of historical prejudice.
"Forget immigration: why won't Hansard and other publications publish his name with his preferred superscript "c"?"
This is the question asked by the paper and the subject of a recent email sent by Mr. McCartney to his fellow House of Commons 'son ofs' (including Esther McVey, John McDonnell and Pat McFadden), whom he invited to help him to 'communicate a collective request for change'.

The paper reports that narrow-mindedness has dogged him since birth, and states that Mr. McCartney explains.
"I have continually through my life, from school, through college and in the workplace, with my own political party and the returning officer where I stood for election, had to make a point of informing others that my name is spelt and should look a certain way."
Unfortunately, the superscript 'c' runs contrary to The Independent's in-house style rules and those of most other national newspapers - together with the abilities of this blog - so should he ever get around to being in them for any other reason than his name will appear without the superscript.

Mr. McCartney earlier indicated at the Lincolnshire Show that he had not seen the piece in the paper but that it was 'another one to tick of the list' of papers he has appeared in since his election.

Press Give Verdict on Emergency Budget

The national newspapers have this morning given their verdict on chancellor George Osborne's emergency budget.

The Sun calls it a 'recovery masterplan,' whilst the Guardian says it promises 'pain now, more pain later.' The Daily Mail says that the middle-class will bear the brunt of Osborne's 'savage' budget, and the Financial Times says the package of spending cuts and tax rises is 'Osborne's kill or cure budget.'

Earlier, the Labour party seized on Osborne's decision to raise Value Added Tax (VAT) by 2.5% to 20% from Tuesday 4th January 2011 as evidence that the government's budget will hit the poorest hardest, accusing the Liberal Democrats of going back on pre-election campaigning against a possible rise in VAT by the Tories.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne
and Prime Minister David Cameron
Writing directly to supporters, Prime Minister David Cameron, said:
"I'm not going to hide it from you - what the coalition has announced is tough. But let's be clear, it's also entirely necessary and entirely unavoidable. Never forget - Labour left us with one of the worst economic inheritances imaginable. They racked up one of the biggest budget deficits in Europe - with the government borrowing one pound for every four it spends - and they doubled the national debt.
"Giles, in this emergency Budget I believe you have the measure of this government. Will it provoke debate? Certainly. Will it cost our coalition some popularity? Possibly. But is this the right thing to do - for the health of our economy, for the poorest in our society, for the future of our country? I passionately believe it is."

Friday, 18 June 2010

Young Lincolnshire Tory Set Sights on National Prize

Mr. Simon Cavalier-Jones, Deputy Chairman of Conservative Future Lincolnshire was speaking at an important Conservative Future - the youth movement of the Conservative Party - Area Meeting last night in Leeds. Mr. Cavalier-Jones who is also a Deputy Regional Chairman for the organisation declared his intention to run for the National Chairmanship of Conservative Future (CF). He gave a speech setting out his plans for CF and then asking for the endorsement Yorkshire CF. In terms of regions Yorkshire, like Lincolnshire, is one the biggest, crucially it is also one of the most active. Any candidate with their support has to be a runner in this election.

Politial blogger Tory Bear reported that:
"East Midlands CF have already endorsed his candidacy, so we're looking at the prospect of a Northern power base Not much is known about Cavalier-Jones, except that he is 25 and works in consultancy. He worked across the East Midlands on the target seat campaign during the elections. He is certainly looking like the outside candidate and is said to have a fair bit of cash behind his bid."
However in another leadership race Labour Leadership contender David Miliband MP was left red-faced on Thursday night after being snapped meeting a contender running to be National Chair of the Tory Youth movement. The front-runner for the Labour Party's Leadership mistook Mr. Cavalier-Jones as a Labour Party chief in an embarrassing mix-up, London Spin exclusively revealed.

Mr. Cavalier-Jones is reported to have said:
"Mr. Milliband was not best pleased when I told him I was standing for Conservative Future chair and then ran away, I thanked him for attending my Campaign launch but make it clear his attendance was not necessary."

New Train Services Will Not Happen

Direct train services between Lincoln and London have been cut even before they have begun. Train operator East Coast expects to save £9 million a year by running just one daily return service to and from King's Cross from May 2011, instead of the seven originally planned.

Most passengers from Lincoln will have to travel to Newark to catch onward trains. East Coast, owned by Directly Operated Railways, which was set up by the Government, will also be using existing engines and carriages on the direct service in and out of Lincoln and will not now introduce an additional fleet of five Adelante Class 180 trains.

Elaine Holt, Chief Executive of Directly Operated Railways and Chairman of East Coast, said: "
We had believed the proposed new Lincoln services would provide more through trains for customers from the region – and this formed an important part of the Eureka! timetable changes.

"However, given the very tough economic climate, all parts of the Government are looking to see where efficiencies can be made."
It was reported earlier in the year that East Coast was to run the seven direct services each way between Lincoln and Kings Cross from May next year.

Mr. Karl McCartney MP (Conservative, Lincoln) has said:
"Having fourteen services a day between Lincoln and London would have been absolutely brilliant for us and put Lincoln on the map.

"I am very disappointed with East Coast's announcement, but I am pleased there will be two services.

"East Coast has made the decision to cut the services. It is not Government cuts."
A single direct service from Lincoln will depart at 7.22am, arriving at King's Cross at 9.21am. The return leg leaves London at 7.06pm, arriving in Lincoln at 9pm.

David Harby, Chairman of the Lincolnshire branch of Railfuture, said members had been anticipating the risk due to tighter public spending given that the service would have needed a Government subsidy.
Mr Harby, who lives off Brant Road, Lincoln, said:
"I highlighted the risk to the service during the election campaign and Karl McCartney refused to give any assurance.
"We are sorry to see the service cut, but can take comfort from the two trains a day and the extra stops at Newark that will benefit morning trips to London.
"Also the use of nine-car trains instead of four-car Adelante trains will answer concerns of overcrowding."

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Tell Police If You're Leaving The Village

The Lincolnshire Echo are reporting that local police are urging homeowners in Nettleham who have been targeted by burglars to let them know when they go on holiday.

Detectives are continuing to investigate a spate of break-ins in the village of Nettleham outside Lincoln after twelve break-ins and attempted break-ins in a matter of days. Police have been posting advice to residents in an effort to boost vigilance - 600 leaflets have been delivered by PCSO Jackie Parker.

It has been revealed the burglars were targeting empty homes in the village, officers have taken the unusual step of urging anyone going away to let them know. The move comes as local fears grow about the burglaries – and against a background of break-ins in nearby Welton.

Ms Debra Tinsley, a spokesman for Lincolnshire Police, said officers were doing everything they could to catch the culprits. She said:
"The investigation is still ongoing, and we are doing everything we can to get to the bottom of things.

"We are urging residents to follow basic crime prevention advice to minimise the risks they face."
Police say people going away should let them know so that patrols can be stepped up in the right areas but they are also advising locals to take their own measures – such as cancelling milk and papers, informing neighbours when away, using timers for lighting at night and setting burglar alarms.
Police this week attended the meeting of Nettleham Parish Council to update the council on the investigation.

Cllr. John Hill is reported to have said:
"Nettleham has a very low crime rate. We have never had something like this before and I hope it is a one-off. But the police have issued very good advice. Keep a watchful eye out, particularly if a neighbour is away on holiday."
The spate of break-ins began on Saturday, 29th Ma y2010 has seen homes across the village targeted. So far, there have been no arrests. The case has some parallels with a spate of break-ins in nearby Welton in May. Now locals are hoping the intensifying police investigation will soon lead to a breakthrough.

Cllr. Alf Frith, Liberal Democrat (Nettleham Ward), is reported to have said people were concerned about what was happening in their village.

"It's alarming, I have been away for a few days and when I went away I was rather concerned about what might happen. It's upsetting, especially because a lot of people were away when their homes were broken into."
Anyone with information about the break-ins should call police on 0300 1110300. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Parishes Urged To Apply For Flood Funding

Parish councils are being urged to apply for a share of cash to protect them from the risks of flooding.

West Lindsey District Council has set aside a total of £110,000 to help beat the misery of water getting into people's homes.

A total of £100,000 will go towards helping partners with the costs of major projects and £10,000 is available to help parish councils manage flood risks.
Mr. Chris Allen, Public Protection Services Manager at West Lindsey District Council, said:
"Parish Councils are best placed to know about and understand flooding issues within their areas.
"This new fund will provide vital financial support to Parish Councils and their communities to proactively manage the threat of flooding and to increase resilience against flooding."
Parish councils will be able to use the cash to support their communities to help themselves to actively prevent and manage flood risk. Mr. Allen said:
"The grant may be used to train flood wardens, supply flood wardens with personal protective equipment or to pay for equipment and tools that may be needed during a flooding event."
But councils are being urged to get their applications in as soon as possible as the cash is only available this financial year 2010/2011.

"We have £10,000 to allocate and the money will be distributed on a first come first served basis"
Application forms are available from the Council's website at www.west-lindsey.gov.uk. Once fully completed they may be returned to the Council electronically or by post.

The £100,000 has been set aside for the Flood Mitigation (match-funding) Grant Scheme.

This fund is aimed at supporting the delivery of major infrastructure schemes and projects around the district, in particular areas where communities were worst hit by the flooding during 2007. The focus of this support will be towards partnership projects that protect the most properties vulnerable to flooding and where Government grant funding has not been forthcoming. Mr. Allen said:
"Protection of these vulnerable communities is a high priority for the council hence our investment of £100,000 to support partners to deliver prevention schemes."

The schemes aim to ensure that additional resources committed by the Council in the recent budget speech are deployed in such a way as to protect the most vulnerable communities and households susceptible to flooding and securing value for money.

Residents are also being urged to have their say on West Lindsey District Council's Flood Risk Management Strategy. The strategy will set the council's priorities on flood prevention. Mr. Allen said:
"We would welcome your comments on our draft flood risk management strategy.
"It identifies how we will work effectively with our partner organisations, parish council's and communities locally to manage flood risk.
"The strategy will also dictate how we shall prioritise flood prevention and mitigation schemes to ensure that the most vulnerable communities are afforded the maximum protection from future, potential flooding events."
A paper copy of the strategy can be requested by contacting Anita Whiting on 01427 675125.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Local Former Conservative Convicted By Lincoln Crown Court

A local businessman and former Conservative Branch Chairman was found with two knives when police stopped him in the early hours of the morning, a court has heard. Mr. Donald Sweeting, who was driving in an erratic manner attracted the attention of police officers as his Mercedes swerved between the kerb and the centre white line as he drove along Longdales Road, Lincoln, at 3am the Lincolnshire Echo reported yesterday.

Mr. Simon Rowe, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that Mr. Sweeting was stopped a few moments later in Yarborough Crescent. He claimed Sweeting's reactions appeared slow and when he tried to turn off his ignition he instead turned the radio on full blast.

Mr. Sweeting was then searched by Constable Royston Walkling and two kitchen knives were found in the inside pocket of his jacket.

Mr. Rowe said Mr. Sweeting was obstructive at the roadside and was arrested for failing to provide a specimen. He said:
"The officers had to go to some effort to handcuff him and get him into the police vehicle. He was then further verbally obstructive at the police station."
Mr. Sweeting, of Curtis Close, Horncastle, denied possession of two knives in a public place on Saturday, 25th July 2009, but was convicted by a jury after a short trial. He admitted failing to provide a specimen on the same date. Mr. Sweeting was given a two-year conditional discharge for the knife offence. He was also fined £300 with £700 costs and banned from driving for three years.

The court was told he had a previous conviction for drink-driving on 17th, October 2007.

Mr. Sweeting told the court he had a glass of wine with a meal with his partner and had taken medication, including pain-killers and anti-depressants. He then set off from Horncastle to travel to his former home in Gainsborough, where he planned to use the knives to prepare a special birthday meal for his daughter.

Mr. Sweeting denied he intended to use the knives to harm anyone and said he had them for a legitimate purpose. Mr. Desmond Rosario, defending, said there was no sinister motive for Sweeting having the knives on him.

Mr. Sweeting was Chairman of the Gainsborough Branch of the Gainsborough Constituency Conservative Association between 2003 and 2007 and a founder director of the Bahama International Trade Associaiton.

The Deputy Chairman of the Gainsborugh Constituency Conservative Assocaition, Cllr. William Parry, confirmed that he has not been a member for over two years.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Television Taken In Daytime Raid

Police are still hunting for clues after two break-ins in Nettleham and Lincoln. A television and a laptop were swiped in a burglary on Long Leys Road in Lincoln in the middle of the afternoon.

Police say the break-in took place on Wednesday, but they are still urging witnesses to come forward.
The shed at the home was also broken into, but nothing was taken.

A fresh appeal for help has also been issued to catch the culprits of a break-in on Larch Avenue in Nettleham.

A large amount of gold and silver jewellery was stolen from a house there last week.

Anyone with information should call 0300 1110300.

Improved Bus Services Connect Lincoln Fringe With Direct Trains To London

Today sees changes made to the InterConnect 3 service that runs from Grimsby, through Market rasen, Welton, Nettleham and into Lincoln and vice versa. The Monday to Saturday journeys will no longer serve Wheelsby Road and Hainton Avenue in Grimsby, running instead direct via Bargate.

The timetable will operate into Lincoln as follow:
For a full pdf of the timetable click here.

Also, local residents will benefit from a £1,000,000 bus service linking Lincoln to Newark every hour, and connecting to London, also begins today. Six gleaming Stagecoach buses will regularly motor down Tritton Road on to Newark Road, North Hykeham and the A46 to Newark.

The route, called InterConnect 3X, will begin operating this morning and passengers will be treated to leather seats and easy access for buggies and wheelchairs aboard the new vehicles, called Executive Connect.

In Newark, there will be a call at Northgate Station, Lincoln's nearest rail portal to London, Leeds, Newcastle and Scotland, among other destinations.

Mr. Dave Skepper, Commercial Director for Stagecoach East Midlands, said:
"We were looking to connect Lincoln with the mainline railway service at Newark Northgate. We believe there is a demand for travel to Newark Northgate Station as there are a lot of commuters who drive to Newark and park at the station.

"We wanted to install a regular service to the stretch in North Hykeham as there are a lot of new houses there and this will give people a dedicated hourly service."
This service will also provide connections through to Grimsby on the InterConnect 3.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Shopping Centre Plans Demonstrate More Confidence In Gainsborough

Plans for a shopping centre including a convenience food store in Gainsborough have been approved by West Lindsey District Council.

Applicants Tillbridge Developments and Thonock & Somerby Estates have got the green light to develop a former commercial site that has now been cleared off Corringham Road close to the Trent Valley Academy and opposite a modern housing estate.

A food store will be the main building on the site and there will also be five other units and parking for thirty-three customers and ten staff.

Leader of the Council, Cllr. Burt Keimach, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward) said:
"At a time when development throughout the country is still largely stalled as a result of the recession, this is another massive vote of confidence in the future of Gainsborough. It is vitally important that the largest town in West Lindsey will now act as a focal point to create jobs for the entire district that will benefit many families in all our communities.

"The fact that the town has Growth Point Status which will see Gainsborough double in size in the next twenty years will continue to make the area attractive to investors and I look forward to seeing more schemes like this which will ultimately benefit the whole district."
A report from planners warned of the need to protect the viability of the town centre from out of town developments, but approval came after a study calculated the catchment area for the Tillbridge development as being from the railway and The Avenue in the west, to the A631 in the east and from The Belt in the north through to Whites Wood Lane in the south.

Cllr Keimach added:
"Properties in this area are within a fifteen minute walk of the site which is the accepted guide. There are currently no convenience outlets in the main catchment area so as well as being a good new facility for local people, I think this scheme will also be well placed to serve new development planned for the area."
Permission has been granted subject to conditions including layout and design of an access road, landscaping and approval of a drainage system.

A spokesman for West Lindsey District Council's planning department confirmed that a second application, from a company called Morbaine in Cheshire, had been submitted for a site also at Corringham Road.

During pre-application discussions, Morbaine had been told that officers felt that the scale of their application was too large, but they applied anyway and the scheme was refused.
The latest position is that a written request has been received from a ward councillor that the new application should be reported to the planning committee rather than be dealt with by officers under delegated powers.

If this course of action is agreed the earliest date the councillors could consider it would be the July meeting. An objection has been received to this second application from Marshall's Yard.

The Council stressed that the authority needed to be sure that the scale of the development was in line with the local neighbourhood it would serve and that it would not have a negative impact on the town centre.

Friday, 4 June 2010

West Lindsey's Green Bin Service May Be Reduced

Green Wheelie Bin collections could change this winter in a bid to cut costs at West Lindsey District Council, the Lincolnshire Echo reports today.
Apparently, discussions have begun with staff about potential changes to West Lindsey District Council's triple bin collection system. The scheme, which brought the authority in line with other neighbouring councils which collect waste on a fortnightly basis, was introduced last year and represented a compromise for the ruling Conservative group on the council. In their 2008 manifesto they committed to 'deliver a free green bin to everyone who wants one' but following the loss of several million pounds in Icelandic Banks - following the previous Liberal Democrats' Treasury Management Strategy - the had to sacrifice continuing with weekly refuse collection.

If changes are approved, green bins for garden waste would be collected monthly instead of fortnightly between November and February and the bi-weekly service would resume in March.

It is understood that maintenance staff from the council who are left with a reduction in workloads would be asked to help with other jobs during the winter.

A public consultation is expected to be held later this year.

The paper reports that council spokesman Mr. Geoff O'Neill said green bins were normally emptier during the winter months and any changes could allow the authority to save cash.

All councils are trying to make savings ahead of cuts in Government grants.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

County Council Care Home Consultation Will Come This Autumn

The Lincolnshire Echo today reports on plans for the future of eight county council-owned care homes which will come forward this autumn and the small protest on the steps of County Hall yesterday.

The Executive at Lincolnshire County Council is understood to have voted in favour of moving forward the emerging 'vision' - shaping care in the 21st century - to develop care facilities for older people.

Conservative councillors believe that replacing respite and day care centres with more modern accommodation, to tackle the effects of ageing populations, would benefit Lincolnshire residents, although this could see care homes privatised.

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Cllr. Martin Hill OBE, Conservative (Folkingham Rural Division), is reported to have said that details on delivering improved service would come in 'late autumn'.
"This is a long-running saga. It's one thing to agree a vision and another to agree what will happen at a practical level. It's a difficult journey but one we must undertake and not shy away from."
Cllr. Mrs. Marianne Overton
Leader of the Opposition on Lincolnshire County Council, Cllr. Marianne Overton, Lincolnshire Independents (Branston & Navenby Division), commented:
"The current homes work really well and do a fantastic job, focused on getting people better and able to turn the key in their own front door. We need more of these facilities, not less."
Complete details on the proposals will emerge when a business plan has been drawn up and no decision has been made on whether the eight care homes will remain open or close.

Campaigners vowed yesterday, to continue fighting to keep all affected buildings open, including Linelands in Nettleham, Bonner House in Sleaford and Park View in Lincoln.

Protesters with placards lined the steps of the County Council's Offices, in Newland, Lincoln, yesterday campaigning under the slogan 'care not profit'.

Protesters at County Hall.
Mrs. Sylvia Laws, whose sister had benefited from help at Bonner House is reported to have said:
"We have a wonderful home in Sleaford. The carers are a wonderful bunch of people."
North Kesteven Seniors Chairman Mrs. Liz Peto said the group's seventy members were 'unanimous' in opposition.

No comments were made by the Liberal Democrat Group on the matter, despite Cllr. Ray Sellars, Liberal Democrat (Nettleham & Saxilby Division), taking a visible, if sometimes egregious, stance on this matter.

The County Council's Labour Group intends to 'call in' the decision. This means the executive's decision could be debated on Thursday, 17th June 2010, at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting.

Cllr. Robert Parker
Labour Group Leader, Cllr. Robert Parker, Labour (Lincoln West) said:
"We want to see improved services, but ones that remain under the control of the council with care provided by council staff committed to giving quality care.

"We want to see the Conservative council put care before profit for private sector companies. We will be challenging these proposals by calling in the decision."
Lincolnshire's Unison Branch Secretary Mr. John Sharman said the council had missed a chance to include the public sector in the care plan, and commented that:
"The fight to save our homes has not been lost. The fight goes on."