Saturday, 30 January 2010

Latest News on Rugby Club's Planning Application

The Lincoln Rugby Football Club's planning application to re-locate the club and training grounds to facilities to be constructed off Lodge Lane, Nettleham remain on hold with the planning authority at West Lindsey District Council.

Mrs. Rita Thompson, Senior Committee Administrator, at the council has reported that:
"This application is not on the list for the February meeting. Apparently the Planning Department is waiting to hear from the applicant and hopefully it will be on the list for the March meeting."
Meanwhile the hopes of the Rugby Club's Re-location Committee will doubtlessly be ebbing away as it emerges that Laura Richardson, a Planning Liaison Officer at the Environment Agency, has submitted a formal response, on Tuesday 26th January 2010, objecting to the proposed development. The Environment Agency's response states:
"We OBJECT to this application for the following reasons:
"1. A Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25) compliant Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) has not been submitted with this application.

 "2. The proposed development involves the use of a non-mains foul drainage system, but no assessment of the risks of pollution to ground and surface waters has been provided by the applicant. "
It is also understood that Cllr. John Evans who, on Monday 25th January 2010, asked Mr. Alan Brown, from Lincolnshire County Council Highways Department, about their feelings on the application and he is reported to have said that Highways has opposed it on sustainability grounds 'it’s in the wrong place'.
 
It therefore looks increasingly likely that when the application finally goes before the Planning Committee the application may have substansive objections from consultees - the Parish Council, the Highways Department and Environment Agency - faced with such comments it is difficult to imagine a recommendation from the planning officer being for approval.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Recycling Your Batteries

As from Monday, 1st February 2010, most supermarkets and shops who sell batteries will have collection bins for used batteries.

Local residents are being urged to get their batteries recycled. Some household batteries contain chemicals like lead, mercury or cadmium. If batteries are thrown into a normal rubbish bin, they are likely to end up in landfill. Once buried, the batteries start to break down, and can leak some of these chemicals into the ground. This can cause soil and water pollution, which may be a health risk for humans.

Recycling avoids this and can also help recover some of the raw materials used for making batteries. These can be used to make other products. So recycling can save some of the planet's resources, by reducing the need to mine new materials.

Many of the items you regularly use at home will be run on batteries. Batteries from all of the following items, and many others, can be recycled:
  • Mobile phones
  • Laptops
  • Hearing aids
  • Watches
  • Portable cameras
  • Cordless power tools
  • Torches
  • Electric toothbrushes
  • Razors
  • Hand-held vacuum cleaners

Look out for the 'Be Positive' signs in shop windows and in stores to find these collection points.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Alan Duncan Spotted At Cornerstone Party

Mr. Tim Montgomerie on ConservativeHome reports that last night at the annual Cornerstone Group drinks party, hosted by Lincolnshire parliamentarians John Hayes MP, Conservative (South Holland & The Deepings) and Edward Leigh MP, Conservative (Gainsborough), that Alan Duncan MP, Conservative (Rutland & Melton) was one of forty members of Parliament present and 'certainly the most surprising guest'. Mr. Duncan famously called Cornerstone the 'Tombstone Group' and lambasted the party's Taliban tendency.

The Guest of Honour was Lady Thatcher was also greeted by about twenty Prospective Parliamentary Candidates. Just about everyone present wanted a photograph of them meeting the woman described by Edward Leigh, Cornerstone's co-Chairman, as 'our greatest peacetime Prime Minister'.

Mr. Montgomerie reports that women were much on her mind as she told the guests, many of whom were female candidates, that 'Parliament badly needed more women'.

Acknowledgement: ConservativeHome | ToryDiary | 28/01/10

Linelands Consultation Meeting is 'Frank and Emotive'

Yesterday evening local residents met at Nettleham Junior School on Mill Hill around six o'clock for a two how consultation meeting. In attendance were members of the Adult Social Care team from Lincolnshire County Council.

Umoung those who are elected members of various councils there was Leader of the Opposition at the County Council, Cllr. Mrs. Marianne Overton, Lincolnshire Independents (Branston & Navenby Division). Cllr. Ray Sellers, Liberal Democrat (Nettleham & Saxilby Division) and Cllr. Mrs. Meg Davidson, Conservative (Fiskerton Ward), on West Lindesy District Council - who is Deputy Chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee at the County Council.

A number of parish councillors attended, they were: Cllr. John Hill, Chairman of the Planning Committee, Cllr. John Evans, Chairman of the Parish Plan Committee, Cllr. Giles McNeill, Chairman of the Mulsanne Park Users Committee, Cllr. Mrs. Val Darbyshire. It was very good to also see Rev. Jenny Rowley who was in attendance.

No appearance was made by Nettleham's two district councillors; Cllr. Malcolm Leaning and Cllr. Alf Frith, Liberal Democrats (Nettleham Ward) which is surprising to say the least on such an important matter which will effect so many people living within the local community.

The attendance was somewhere in the region of between 70-80, which is very good considering that the meeting had to be rescheduled. This included a number of staff from the care home.

Many local residents and the politicians had their say on there views and the members of the Adult Social Care team did well responding to questions and presenting the information they had to hand.

Giles McNeill said:
"I think the evening went very well, whilst at times the discourse was frank and emotive, at all times it remained civil. It was clear to me that what the people of Nettleham and surrounding area want is to keep the respite and day-centre provision currently provided by Linelands and add to it additional care services, such as extra-care provision and nursing care."

A Christmas of Carolling Helps Local Charities

As January begins to slip away and the hours of daylight steadily increase our minds turn away from thoughts of Christmas. However, regular readers will be aware that in the winter months I spend my time out and about with the Our Lady's Carollers collecting money for local charities..


We had another good year which has been both rewarding and enjoyable for all concerned. We went to lots of events, including the opening of the Lincoln Christmas Market where we were part of the official opening, private parties, singing in the resturants of the city or even on the streets of the Bailgate area we had a very enjoyable season.

The Carollers raised around £2,500.00 for local charities this year and the following charities will recieve donations of between £100 - £300:
  1. Special Families (Cherry Willingham)
  2. Lincoln & Lindsey Blind Society
  3. Catholic Deaf Service
  4. Marriage Care
  5. St. Barnabas Family Support Group
The majority of the monies raised in 2009 will be donated to Strut in the Community a charity which provided short breaks for children and young people with disabilities and special needs in Lincolnshire, who have had financial difficulties during the recession.

The Lincolnshire Echo reported earlier in the year that Strut in the Community, which supports around one hundred and fifty disabled county children each year, has seen a dramatic cut in donations coupled with higher overheads and now needs to find at least £10,000 to plug a funding gap; up to seven members of staff may still have to be made redundant in the coming months.

Organisation Manager, Ms Aimee Holland was quoted as saying:
"We have seen an £86,000 drop in donations from last financial year to this and despite making significant changes to the charity, moving into community based settings for care and opening a new showroom for furniture, we have not been able to bridge the gap this has created in the budget."

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Video Blog #10: Rand Group Asset Sale Begins

The remains of a once successful Lincolnshire company is set to be picked over by online auction-goers The Lincolnshire Echo reports. The Rand Group, and its subsidiaries UCS Plant and UCS Civils, called in the receivers in November last year – with the loss of two hundred jobs.

Starting today bidders can bid for the former company's assets, with a week long ‘eBay-style’ sale through Eddisons auction website. But county business leaders say that while it is sad to see the firm fail, it could offer opportunities for other local firms.

Mr. Simon Beardsley, chairman of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, commented to the Lincolnshire Echo that the auction would elicit a variety of emotions.

"On one hand the creditors who were owed money at the time the company ceased trading will be hoping that the sale will gain the maximum return in order for them to receive a contribution towards the amounts they are still owed."

"There are likely to be tinges of sadness and regret from former staff and owners of the company.

"But, there will also be those who will see this as an opportunity to use their entrepreneurial spirit to bring pieces of equipment back into economic use."
Eddisons director, Mr. Jason Pinder, said they have already seen a great deal of interest from companies far and wide.

"It was a really good company and it's such a shame to see it go down."

"But there has been a high demand for catalogues.

"There are 800 to 900 lots, and the market for them could be worldwide."
Bidding starts this today at http://www.eddisons.com/.

Bernard Theobald Fails In Bid To Rejoin Planning Committee

Related content 'New Political Grouping Formed At West Lindsey District Council'.

Cllr. Bernard Theobald, Independent (Wold View Ward) had requested to rejoin the Planning Committee on West Lindsey District Council after forming a new Independent Group. His request, however, was denied and he will now sit on the investigations and disciplinary committee instead following discussions between the authority's Chief Executive and the main Group Leaders.

At full council on Monday, 25th January 2010, Cllr. Theobald labelled his new position a 'hollow gift'.

Cllr. Theobald formed his new Independent group with another former Conservative, Cllr. Stuart Kinch, Independent, (Torksey Ward), last week in an attempt to secure committee seats for the pair.

Cllr. Kinch had requested to join the Organisation and Resources committee. This request was also denied. He will now sit on the Community and Waste Services committee plus performance management and scrutiny.

Councillors ratified the committee changes at their meeting and officially approved Cllr. Adam Duguid, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward) as the new Leader of the Council and Cllr. Burt Keimach, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward) as Deputy Leader of the Council.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

On Course to Boost Tourism in West Lindsey

Two courses are planned to boost tourism which will take place in March this year West Lindsey District Council has announced.

The first is 'Focus on Marketing' on Tuesday, 2nd March 2010 at the Hume Arms in Torksey and the second is on Tuesday 23rd March 2010 when 'Bed and Breakfast Profits' come under the microscope at Welton Manor Golf Centre. Both events are being organised by West Lindsey District Council, and Chairman of the Economic and Regeneration Committee, Cllr. Malcolm Parish, Conservative (Welton Ward) says they will contain practical tips to boost business.
"Marketing is key to any business plan and the first course will examine the latest marketing trends to capture new customers and retain existing ones.

"The second course focuses on bed and breakfast profits and practical knowledge to ensure that day-to-day operations are as cost effective as possible.

"Waste, menu planning, and stock control are included and the course is aimed at owners, chefs and operators of bed and breakfast businesses."
Both courses cost £15.00 per person. The marketing course starts at 10:00am and finishes at 1:30pm and the bed and breakfast course starts at 10:00am and finishes at 2:30pm. Lunch is included at both events.

For more information contact Marion Thomas on (01427) 676676, e-mail marion.thomas@west-lindsey.gov.uk.

'Raving Lunatic' or 'Courageous Soul'?

Austin Mitchell MP, Labour (Cleethorpes), once changed his name by deed poll to 'Austin Haddock' to highlight the plight of British trawlermen, however, cold water is not for him, it seems. Attending a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee, he talked about the 'raving lunatics' who go swimming in the wintertime.


Right: Edward Leigh MP swims in a hole made in the ice covering the Serpentine in Hyde Park on Thursday, 8th January 2009.

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Edward Leigh MP, Conservative (Gainsborough), pointed out that he himself swims in the Serpentine in Hyde Park every day, come rain or shine. A flustered Mr. Mitchell implored the official shorthand writer to substitute the phrase 'raving lunatics' for 'courageous souls'. Mr. Tim Walker of The Daily Telegraph notes gleefully that:
"Happily, Hansard does not go in for redaction."

Monday, 25 January 2010

GE2010: Lincoln: Gillian Merron's Campaign Heads Off The Tracks

Ms Gillian Merron MP, Labour (Lincoln), Minister of State for Public Health, has suffered a set-back as her campaign has gone off the rails with news that the arrival of a new, faster, direct rail link between Lincoln and London will be six months late.

The Government's transport secretary Lord Andrew Adonis this week announced a proposed new timetable for quicker services along the East Coast Main Line to run from May 2011 into London King's Cross – including from Lincoln. Seven trains a day were due to run each way between Lincoln and the capital from December 2010 at two-hourly intervals. However, Ms Merron's office has now confirmed that a six-month delay will prevent the service beginning on schedule. Ms Merron's office blamed 'problematic timetable negotiations between train companies'.

Chairman of the Lincolnshire branch of Railfuture, Mr. David Harby, has said the wait is disappointing.
"I am confident the Department for Transport, the train operators and Network Rail really are on line to do it.
"What I am not confident about is the effect of any future Treasury cuts where perhaps places like Lincoln may get chopped off."

Lord Adonis and Ms Merron have given their assurances that the service will arrive in May 2011.

Ms Merron said:
"I can give a categorical assurance that a Labour Government will deliver, in May next year, the direct and regular train service between Lincoln and London, which I have long campaigned for."
The King's Cross service will be a quicker alternative – taking one hour fifty-seven minutes – to the direct train link provided by East Midlands Trains, which goes to St. Pancras via Nottingham and takes two hours and fifty minutes, introduced in December 2008.

Ms Merron will not be pleased at this delay, her literature has featured heavily with stories about Lincoln-London train services and provides a much needed open-goal for her opponent Mr. Karl McCartney, Conservative.

Her parliamentary report from 2008 led with the title 'Lincoln to London Full Steam Ahead'.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

£200,000 to Help Tackle Dysfunctional Families

The Lincolnshire Echo is reporting that almost £200,000 of Government cash has been dedicated to tackling problem families in Lincolnshire.


The cash will be used to employ a team of seven who will work to slash rates of antisocial behaviour, domestic violence alcohol and drug abuse and teenage pregnancy. Lincoln, West Lindsey and Boston have been targeted as areas where help is needed.



This was confirmed by the Rt. Hon. Dawn Primarolo MP, Labour (Bristol South), Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families, when announcing a further eighty-eight new Family Intervention Projects across the country.

The Government states that research published in November proves that Family Intervention Projects have a lasting impact on the families that have worked with since the scheme was launched in 2007.

Ms Primarolo said:
"Family Intervention Projects challenge, confront and support parents and children to help them change their behaviour for the benefit of the whole family and wider community.

"Prevention is the best way to stop problems with families escalating and impacting their neighbours."
The money awarded by the Department of Children, Schools and Families and Lincolnshire County Council is supplemented by cash already made available by West Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership and, together, will pay for five key workers plus a manager and administration assistant.

Chairman of the West Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership, Cllr. Geoff Wiseman, Conservative (Middle Rasen Ward) said:
"We will change behaviour to enable 'chaotic' families to live independently in communities and improve the quality of life for those families.
"We also aim to improve the quality of life for families in the wider community who are 'victims' or witnesses to the behaviour of the chaotic families. 
"It is fantastic news that our bid has been approved and we will be advertising for staff very soon and hope to have the team in place by the end of March and be making a real difference to the lives of the families and the communities concerned very soon after that."
Acknowledgement: Lincolnshire Echo | News | 23/01/10

Sunday Express - Stainton-by-Langworth Pet Cemetary

Related content 'Cllr. Meg Davidson in Sunday Express?'.

The Sunday Express is reporting that villagers whose last resting place is a discreet plot in a country churchyard may well be turning in their graves.


The paper mentions that plans are afoot to open an environmentally-friendly burial ground where pet lovers can be interred alongside their beloved animals.

The village of Stainton-by-Langworth, north of Lincoln, will become the only place in England where humans can be buried with their dogs, cats and even hamsters forever.

West Lindsey District Council gave permission for the scheme because the local churchyard of St. John the Baptist is, like many others in Britain, fast running out of space.

Mrs. Deidre Oswin, who lives in nearby Langworth village, is quoted as saying:
"Some people might take to the idea but it is a very peculiar sort of planning application. It’s quite unusual, to say the least."
Cllr. Mrs. Meg Davidson, Conservative (Fiskerton Ward), is reported as saying she was braced for an outcry and the need for a special planning meeting to explain what the project was about. But she was surprised to find that, after some initial concern, the plan was approved without opposition from the district or parish councils. Mrs Davidson is reported to have said:
"It did seem very strange at first and we didn’t quite know what to make of it all.

"We didn’t know what the local reaction would be as nothing like that has happened round here before, but after everything was explained there were no real objections.

"Many people thought it made sense because graveyards, as everyone knows, are running out of space."
An acre of the four-and-a-quarter acre site will be dedicated to animal burials and the rest of the space will become a 'green' human burial ground. The application indicates that the burial site aims to have a low impact on the environment while maintaining a rural appearance.

People who choose to be buried there will have biodegradable shrouds instead of wooden coffins, with a tree or flat plaque to mark the grave instead of a traditional headstone.

The site will remain agricultural and wildlife will be encouraged. It is intended that, over time, it will turn into a small wood and orchard.

The paper report that the Environment Agency has issued a licence for the burial of animals at Stainton-by-Langworth and believed it would become the first burial ground in England where pets could be buried with their owners. A spokesman explained:
"We have never heard of a burial ground like this before.
"It seems like a new but rather strange trend – people not wanting to be separated from their pets in death, that is."
There are nineteen pet cemeteries in England and Wales but so far none has been linked with human cemeteries.

Related content on the web: Yahoo India

Acknowledgement: Express.co.uk | UK News | 24/01/10

Saturday, 23 January 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Cllr. Meg Davidson in Sunday Express?

It is understood that Cllr. Mrs. Meg Davidson, Conservative (Fiskerton Ward), is likely to appear in tomorrow's Sunday Express in a story about the proposed joint human-animal burial ground proposed for Stainton-by-Langworth.

In a publicity coup that any local councillor would be proud of Cllr. Mrs. Davidson has secured, it is understood, coverage in the national paper which has a circulation of over 600,000.

The relationship between a man and his dog, has been widely documented as being something of a special bond. Now, that bond – whether it be with dog, cat, horse or reptile – can go beyond the grave.

West Lindsey District Council has granted planning permission for a human and animal burial site, near Stainton by Langworth, north of Lincoln. According to the council, the applicant is from Cherry Willingham in Lincoln, but they were unavailable to talk about the scheme.

However, the application states that one acre of the four and a quarter acres will be dedicated to animal burials. The rest will be a 'green' human burial ground.

Langworth Group Parish Council members said it had not raised any objections to the plans.

Mrs. Deidre Oswin who lives in Langworth said:
"Some people could take to it, but it is a very peculiar sort of planning application to put through.

"It's quite unusual to say the least, but I guess there is no problem with it."

Revised Consultation Meeting Date for Linelands Announced

The public consultation meeting about proposals for improved residential care at Linelands Care Home in Nettleham, has been rescheduled for Wednesday, 27th January, 2010, at Nettleham Junior School, from 6-8pm. This follows the cancellation of the meeting earlier this month due to bad weather.


Cllr. Graham Marsh, Conservative (Alford & Sutton Division), Executive Councillor for Adult Social Care, said:

"I encourage all local residents interested in the proposals to provide older people with new, improved standards of residential care to attend the meeting. As well as providing more information and help give us valuable feedback, it’s also a chance for residents to ask questions and get more information themselves."
Public meetings across the county will give the chance for local residents to have their say on proposals to replace eight residential care homes with improved state-of-the art accommodation, suited to the needs of older people.

Separate consultation meetings have been set up for people using the home, their carers and relatives and for staff.

The ambitious plans for eight care homes across the county would change the face of care for older people and provide brand new extra-care housing schemes and specialised dementia centres in partnership with independent sector providers.

Existing facilities would remain open while the new homes are developed so residents and users of day and respite care would experience a seamless transition from one to the other.

The County Council is consulting on the proposals for a three-to-five year programme seeking to modernise services to ensure they are high quality with a greater choice of accommodation options.

Cllr. Marsh added:
"These are exciting plans which will change the type of support available for those using our services and provide people with better options. Consultations over the past year with older people, their families and representative groups have revealed that they expect more from accommodation and care services. It is clear traditional patterns of care for older people are no longer appropriate for future service users.
"New homes could include self-contained apartments with en-suite bedrooms similar to those introduced in other areas across the country. The new schemes would have care support on site, communal areas and social facilities such as shops, cafes and pubs."
The consultation period has been extended to Tuesday, 16th February 2010, following cancellation of earlier meetings due to the bad weather. You can give your views and feedback through the Parish Council. Alternatively, go to the county council’s website for further details – www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/shapingcare - where you can complete a quick and easy online questionnaire.

Is The Circus Coming To Town?

A gentleman has contacted Nettleham Parish Council about the possibility of locating a circus at Mulsanne Park for a two week period later this year, in March.

A descision is expected to be taken at the next parish council meeting scheduled to be held on the evening of Tuesday, 2nd February 2010.

It is understood that the circus promoter will provide a letter detailing the dates the circus would wish to be at Mulsanne Park, the hours it would be operating on, the area of land required, information on relevant insurances, the fee they would be prepared to pay and the sort of circus that would perform.

It is understood that the views of user clubs at Mulsanne Park are being sought. As the sports facilities enjoyed by football, cricket and tennis clubs at Mulsanne Park are financed through a rent calculation based on the operating profit/loss of the site any additional income that can be generated from external bodies is often welcomed as this reduces the rents the clubs pay and the cost to the taxpayer.

Why not have your say? Vote on the poll at the top of this site.

Friday, 22 January 2010

New Political Grouping Formed At West Lindsey District Council

Related content 'Stuart Kinch Resigns for WLDC Conservative Group - Lib Dem Suggests' and 'Bernard Theobald Resigns as Leader of West Lindsey District Council'.

Two former Conservative councillors on West Lindsey District Council have formed a new political faction.

Cllr. Bernard Theobald, Independent (Wold View Ward), former West Lindsey District Council Leader, and Cllr. Stuart Kinch, Independent (Torksey Ward), have joined forces to establish a new Independent Group at the authority.

Cllr. Theobald quit his role as Leader of the Council in mid-December 2009, citing the Lincolnshire Echo investigating a planning application he submitted for a country house. Cllr. Kinch was part-owner of the land at South Owersby, near Market Rasen, included in the proposal, which was bought by the two members and their respective wives for £155,000.

The pair have been independent council members at West Lindsey since December, when Cllr. Theobald had his membership of the Gainsborough Conservative Association suspended for six months and Cllr. Kinch resigned from the Conservative party. Cllr. Kinch was Deputy Chairman (Political) of the Gainsborough Constituency Conservative Association.

The Lincolnshire Echo reported at he time that Cllr. Kinch had said his decision to leave was 'in protest' for the way the Conservative Group had handled the issue and turned it into a 'witch hunt'.

The two councillors have enquired about whether they can hold committee positions at the authority, however, Cllr. Kinch said it remained unclear whether this would be allowed.

Mr. Martin Vickers, Agent for Gainsborough Constituency Conservative Association, said:
"With regard to Cllr. Theobald's relationship with the Conservative Party, it's unchanged. Bernard is suspended for six months while various inquiries go on and our association executive will review that in six months."
It is understood that Cllr. Alan Caine, Independent (Caistor Ward), the only independent on the council before Cllrs. Theobald and Kinch left the Conservative Group's whip refused to form a grouping with them.

Nettleham Parish Council's Cemetary Fee Fixed in 2010/11

In the course of considering the precept – that part of the council tax that goes to the parish – for 2010/11 (which has been set at £101,243, the same figure as in the current year), and in particular the removal of a subsidy by West Lindsey District Council on the costs of the Burial Ground, the Parish Council has considered differential fees charged to residents and non-residents, and whether the burial ground should in the future only be for residents only.

It has been agreed that there will be no change to the existing burial ground fees system of charging, and that people from outside the village can continue to be buried in the village, although reduced rates will apply for Nettleham residents. As the parish goes through a transition between the old subsidised system to the parish being more responsible it was agreed that for next year any shortfall would be found from the Parish Council’s reserves.

A Burial Ground Appeals Committee has been set up consisting of Cllr. Mrs. Val Darbyshire and Cllr. Giles McNeill, to deal with any disputes about residency. Cllr. McNeill said:
"I think that people want to know that a fair system operates: in the future residents of Nettleham may have to subsidise costs of the burial ground, although it is my hope that this will not be the case.

"Local people will want to be assured that decisions, on these sensitive matters, are being taken by people and not coldly assessed by an inflexible set of rules or guidelines."

Thursday, 21 January 2010

County Council Leader Nominatated for Award

Cllr Martin Hill OBE, Conservative (Folkingham Rural), Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, has been shortlisted in the category of ‘Leader of the Year’ in the Local Government Information Unit awards.



The awards are intended to recognise and reward the contributions of individual councillors across eight categories, and Cllr. Hill has been nominated by fellow councillors and officers at the council for his achievements. The winners will be announced on Thursday, 4th February 2010.

Cllr. Hill became council leader in early 2005, and supported by a new executive, he set about transforming the entire ethos, performance and reputation of the authority. His inspirational leadership has won acclaim from staff, partner organisations and community groups, who acknowledge the council as the driving force behind progressive change.

Cllr. Hill was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2008 for services to local government, and the authority was praised in last month’s Comprehensive Area Assessment for 'performing well'.

The Local Government Information Unit works with local government and councillors to influence and improve the sector and deliver the best possible outcomes for communities. The Local Government Information Unit believes that councillors are the backbone of local democracy and work tirelessly for communities.

For more information about the awards visit the Local Government Information Unit website.

Nettleham Parish Council Actively Try To Improve Traffic Situation

Nettleham Parish Council have been actively trying to improve the traffic situation within the parish. Written representations have been made to the Lincolnshire County Council, Highways Department for the speed restriction on Deepdale Lane to be extended to the verge of the Enterprise Park. Unfortunately these have not met with a positive response and further representations are being made by the Parish Council.

Concerns about speeding have led to the Parish Council agreeing to contribute (along with other parishes) to a mobile speed indicating device of the type seen on the edge of many rural villages. The board will be deployed in the village from time to time by the police, and it is hoped that this immediate reminder to motorists of their speed will mitigate to some extent the speeding problems which are all too regular.

The Parish Council are aware that the inclement winter weather has affected road surfaces around the village. Lincolnshire County Council, Highways have told the council they will repair as quickly as possible problem pot holes. The number to ring at the County Council is 01522 782070 or you can call the Parish Office on 01522 750011 and the council’s staff will pass it on.

Finally, the Council was disappointed that Lincolnshire County Council, Highways Department painted the standard wide yellow lines within our conservation area, when they should have been narrower and paler lines in ‘heritage lemon’. The County Council have stated that nothing can now be done to reduce the impact of the lines.

Edward Leigh Considers Thoughtcrime

Edward Leigh MP, Conservative (Gansborough) writes on his blog:
"I have a tendency to read two or three books at once and have once again fallen into this bad habit. I am reading George Orwell’s 1984 once again and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (about the life of Thomas Cromwell) for the first time. The later is a study of the past, whilst the former was written as a study of the future that has now become the past.


"Wolf Hall highlights the degree to which government, both Protestant and Catholic, peered into men’s souls in Tudor times, which was frightening.

"1984 is not just a satire on Totalitarianism; it is satire on all dominant political thought processes. Nowadays, ours is a kind of vapid centralist social democracy which is utterly dominant in both the so called right and left parties all over Europe."
Read the full article here...

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Apology from the BBC

Readers may recollect that I commented in my General Election Summary Briefing that the BBC's One Show last Thursday aired a piece about is being from a priviledge background going to hamper David Cameron's attempts to become Prime Minister. Iain Dale picked up the story and there was some coverage in the press about the BBC receiving over one hundred complaints.

I have had this by way of a responce to my complaint:
"Thank you for contacting us about the recent One Show item on class and politics. We've now had the opportunity to discuss your concerns with the editor of the programme and he’s asked us to pass on his response to you:
"I am sorry you felt the film was unfair to the Conservative Party and I would like to start my reply by acknowledging that we should have made clear that the film was one of a number of profiles of the main political parties. In this case the aim was to show it was no longer necessarily the case that voters felt a politician’s public school education or privileged background was a reason not to vote for them. The views of potential voters were evenly balanced on this point in the film and we highlighted the fact that Labour’s 'toff' attacks on the Conservative candidate at the Crewe and Nantwich bye-election had not worked. The film also highlighted Tony Blair’s attendance at a public school termed 'the Eton of the North' by one contributor. However I do accept that, overall, the reporting style and tone of the film may have under-played these points and led some to the impression of unfairness to the Conservative Party. The One Show production team is very aware of its responsibilities to ensure fairness in our output and I apologise that, on this occasion, the film did not fully do justice to that aim."
"We'd like to assure you that we've registered your comments on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive, are circulated and considered across the BBC. Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns."

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

GE2010: General Election Briefing Day #16

Hoon's evidence to Iraq inquiry dominates the day's political news. How much - if at all - is the Iraq Inquiry hurting Labour? There's no big revelation from today's questioning of Geoff Hoon although Liam Fox has said that it confirms that Brown handicapped Britain's troops with insufficient financial support. Equally, not much came from Alastair's Campbell day in front of the cameras last week. But the drip, drip, drip of constant coverage (with journalists like Glen Oglaza tweeting frenetically all day) can't be good for Labour. It's a reminder of one of the Government's most unhappy periods. And this is all a warm up to the Inquiry's big moment when Tony Blair takes the hot seat.


Action on binge drinking was the political theme of the day. Both parties put own statements including this from Chris Grayling.
Inflation is back and it will make budget control a lot harder. Iain Martin at the Wall Street Journal worries that this is going to make public sector pay control a lot trickier:
"Imagine you are the head of a team of trade union negotiators anywhere in Britain right now. You will just have clocked that inflation is 2.9% and rounded it up mentally to 3%... Millions of workers who accepted pay freezes or small raises last year will be less minded to agree to a repeat than they would be if inflation was stuck at, say, 1%. So, sentiment shifts, people start to grumble and unions put in claims of 4% in the hope they can then settle at or above the 3% 'going-rate.'"
George Osborne MP, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mr. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, issued a joint attack on bank bonus culture. At a lunch for London and European heads of the global banking sector the Mayor of London said that he was
"shocked and baffled by the persistence of this excessive bonus culture at a time when millions of Londoners and thousands of businesses are struggling."
The Shadow Chancellor added:
"Boris and I also present a united front when we say: large cash bonuses are unacceptable at this difficult time. Bankers need to show they understand that we are all in this together."
Acknowledgement: ConservativeHome | ToryDiary| 19/01/10

Conservatives At West Lindsey Elect New Leadership Team - Update


Update to 'EXCLUSIVE: Conservatives At West Lindsey Elect New Leadership Team'.
Related content 'Leadership Contest Final Furlong' and 'Leadership Contest Speculation Begins'

The Lincolnshire Echo is reporting that Cllr. Adam Duguid, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward) accepted his position via a text message sent from the United States of America, where he is on a skiing holiday. He received a text message informing him of his nomination for the leadership of West Lindsey District Council's Conservative Group and agreed to stand.

The paper report Cllr. Duguid as saying:
"It was all a bit confusing.

"I was away when it happened and I got a message saying I had been nominated and would I accept.

"I thought if people wanted me to do it, then I should accept the nomination and let them decide."
The appointment marks the end of a six-week search for a replacement following the resignation of Cllr Bernard Theobald (Wold View Ward).

GE2010: Gainsborough: Edward Ligh 'I believe' #2

Edward Leigh (Conservative) MP for the Gainsborough Constituency in the first of a series of regular articles, published on his website, in which he will talk about the issues that matter leading up to the election, Mr. Leigh presents his views on the topic of social security.

Education


As the father of six children I am very interested in education. My wife and I have tried a mix of all types of education for our children; state and private, English and French, day and boarding, faith and secular.

I am not an educational theorist, I am only a parent. I believe that at the end of all this, no type of education is consistently superior to any other.

I do believe in the maximum variety of provision to suit all needs, skills and ambitions.

So my conclusion is clear. Head teachers, both in the private and state sectors must be free to run their schools with the greatest possible freedom.

They should be free to hire and fire staff in order to get the best.
They should be free to set wage rates to get the best staff, particularly where teachers are scarce, such as in the teaching of maths.
Head teachers should set their own curriculum and not be bound by a rigid national curriculum.
We should move gradually to a situation where they are able to decide on which pupils join the school and on the criteria upon which this is based. In fact, the overwhelming majority of schools should always be broad based in their ability range.
Eventually I would like to see a time when the money for a pupil’s education follows the pupil. Any pupil at any school should attract the same basic support from the state, with additional support for special needs according to a statement. This would have to be brought in gradually, starting in year R and building up steadily starting in deprived post codes. Naturally traditional HMI inspections would continue to weed out any incompetence.
I believe that if we break down the divisions between the independent and state sectors, if we set our schools free and if head teachers had to respond to parents, not government targets, then we really could have the best education in the world.

Monday, 18 January 2010

GE2010: General Election Summary Day #15

Despite the question that Iain Martin of the Wall Street Journal blogged earlier today, the Conservatives policy on marriage is becoming clearer. As a first instalment on David Cameron's marriage policy we are likely to get a £600m Transferable Tax Allowance within the early years of a Conservative government for all children under the age of three with married parents. In a family green paper the Centre for Social Justice sets out the reasons why the two parent family is such a force for social well-being. The Daily Mail continues to blast Labour for neglecting marriage, as in an editorial today. It accuses Labour of being 'deluded' and 'opportunist'. The Conservative policy is praised as 'creditworthy'. The family is one of the top concerns of the paper's Editor, Mr. Paul Dacre. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is undermining the last hope he had with Mr. Dacre by allowing Ed Balls MP to trash the Conservaitve plan to save the two parent family.

The Conservatives promised today to make teaching a noble profession. Jonathan Isaby blogged on the Conservatives' education manifesto. Central to today's launch was the idea of recruiting the very best graduates for the classroom. The media have had fun with the fact that Conservative maths adviser Carol Vorderman got a 'Third' at university but education is the Conservatives' biggest idea and you can't have good schools without good teachers. Recruiting the best and sacking the worst will be an affront to the unions and may require larger class sizes is is likely that most parents will strongly approve.

Reducing Britain's carbon footprint is apparently the lowest priority of Conservative MPs. According to ConservativeHome who released the results of a survey of 141 candidates in the Conservatives most winnable seats that showed broad support for David Cameron's emphasis on the NHS, poverty-fighting and civil liberties. Only 8 of the 141 regarded climate change as their top priority, however.

Fifty candidates have gathered to have their photographs taken with David Cameron today. The Financial Times has the story (here). It will be interesting to see how Gordon Brown features in Labour literature at the General Election.

Acknowledgement: ConservativeHomes | ToryDiary | 18/01/10

EXCLUSVE: Conservatives At West Lindsey Elect New Leadership Team


Update to 'Leadership Contest Final Furlong' and 'Leadership Contest Speculation Begins'

Cllr. Adam Duguid and Cllr. Burt Keimach, both representing the Market Rasen Ward have been elected by their Conservative peers to become Leader and Deputy Leader of the West Lindsey District Council Conservative Group. These two councillors will now, by convention, become Leader and Deputy Leader of West Lindsey District Council.

Conservatives met last Thursday evening and their decision will surprise readers of the Lincolnshire Echo, who had tipped Cllr. Ian Fleetwood (Bardney Ward) as frontrunner. Since Cllr. Theobald's resignation as the Council's Leader, Cllr. Duguid has been Acting Leader of West Lindsey District Council and served as Deputy Leader of the Council following the Conservatives' winning control in the 2008 local elections. It is understood that Cllr. Ian Fleetwood was made interim leader of the group.

Cllr. Keimach was first elected in May 2008, at the time Cllr. Duguid, commented:

"I am proud to welcome Burt as a member of the Market Rasen team. I know how committed he is to serving our local community through his service on Market Rasen Town Council."
It would have been difficult to forecast that Cllr Keimach would have emerged so quickly into a leadership position, speaing to the Lincolnshire Echo in mid-December Cllr Keimach said:
"We wanted someone with good political experience and all the qualities necessary for good leadership - lead by consensus and democracy rather than any other less inclusive qualities. We don't want anyone to take executive decisions."
Time will tell if this is the style adopted by the pair.

Two other Conservative councillors who were named as potential leadership candidates are now Chairmen of two important committees. Cllr. Chris Underwood-Frost (Scotter Ward) is now Chairman of the influential Planning Committee and it is understood that Cllr. Mrs. M. Davidson will become Chairman of the Organisation and Resources Committee.

At the request of the local Conservative Association this story was prepared on Friday, 15th Janaury 2010 and embargoed until 12:00noon on Monday, 18th January 2010.

Lincolnshire Police Authority Budget Simulator

Lincolnshire Police Authority is responsible for setting the budget of well over one hundred million pounds. Over the next 5 years it is likely the Police will need to make significant savings every year to maintain services and adapt to changes in demand and legislation.

Because of this the authority are asking local residents to take a few minutes to tell them which areas of policing they should be making savings in, and which areas should receive the focus of the funding they have.

Currently Band D council tax payers in Lincolnshire pay £174.06 pounds per household per year towards Policing or just 47 pence a day for a 24 hour, seven days a week police service.

By clicking on the arrows in the simulator you can indicate whether you want to raise or lower spending in a particular area. You can also see if you increase spending in too many areas how this could increase the council tax that you pay.

Clicking on the heading for each section will tell you what that budget area includes.

By taking part in the budget simulator you will be helping us decide where funding should be spent and inform the budget setting decisions made by the Police Authority in 2010. It is vital that we obtain your feedback about the budget, particularly in the challenging financial climate we are now in.

So have a go: http://www.budgetsimulator.com/lincolnshire-pa/

West Lindsey's Refuse and Recycling Collections Return to Normal

West Lindsey District Council have been pleased to announce that all properties which had been unable to be collected from recently, due to the snow and icy conditions, have now had their bins emptied.
Extra crews were out last week to collect bins which the council were unable to empty the previous week.
Iif you do have any problems regarding your collections, please contact a member of West Lindsey District Council's Customer Services staff on 01427 676676.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

GE2010: General Election Summary Day #14

The Conservatives remain solidly ahead in the opinion polls. Two polls over the weekend suggested the Conservatives remain on course for victory. YouGov had Conservatives 40% (down 2% points), Labour 31% (up 1% point) and Liberal Democrats 18% (up 2% points). Meanwhile ComRes had the Conservatives 42% (up 4% points), Labour 29% (no change) and Liberal Democrats 19% (no change). This gives a Conservative lead of between 9%-13%.

a YouGov poll for MigrationWatch UK suggests a little more volume on immigration could seal the deal for the Conservatives. Nine times as many voters in marginal seats are likely to vote for David Cameron as vote against him if he emphasises his promise to cap immigration to about 50,000pa.

Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats did well enough on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show this morning, suggesting that he will be far from a pushover in the expected election debates. However, he slipped up when Kevin Maguire of The Mirror asked if he had donated towards the Haiti Earthquake. Not yet, he flustered. Nick Clegg has been prone to this sort of gaffe he famously slipped up when asked about the value of the basic state pension (he said it was just £30!) and when asked about the number of his lovers (he answered the question).

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) took a swing to the intolerant right with a pledge to ban the burkha. The move designed to stop leakage of UKIP votes to the BNP provoked strong criticism from both The Times and Conservatives MEPs. They called UKIP 'un-British'.

Fraser Nelson highlights the scale of likely Conservative defence cuts. In his News of the World column the Editor of The Spectator warns that Cameron's 'staggering' and 'puzzling' pledges on NHS and international aid will mean 20% defence cuts if they are not reversed.

Ed Balls attacked David Cameron's marriage policy. Ed Balls who has temporarily lost out to Lord Mandelson in the internal Labour debate as to whether Gordon Brown should emphasise a class-based appeal to core Labour voters or a Blairite appeal to aspiration. With Harriet Harman, however, he continues to bash the Conservatives for wanting to recognise marriage in the tax system. William Hague and Philip Hammond hit back for the Conservatives, noting that Labour's Britain was almost unique in not recognising marriage.
Tomorrow David Cameron and Michael Gove launch the families and education chapter of the Conservative draft manifesto. The Conservative leader gave a taste of his 'we'll-help-families-who-do-the-right-thing' message in this morning's Mail on Sunday (here).

Saturday, 16 January 2010

GE2010: Lincoln: Girl's Aloud Star Backs City MP on Risk of Sunbeds

Ms Gillian Merron MP, Labour (Lincoln Constituency) and Minister of State for Public Health has been interviewed by Girls Aloud star Miss Nicola Roberts for a BBC3 programme  entitled 'What would you do to get a tan?' on the dangers and health damage that sunbeds can cause, expected to be aired in February.

The documentary looks at the culture of tanning particularly amongst young people and the extremes they will go to in order to obtain the perfect tan, and the terrible damage that sunbeds can do.

Lincoln's MP and the Government are backing a Private Members Bill, which will have its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday, 29th January 2010, calling for tanning salons to be banned from allowing under 18s to use sunbeds.

Gillian Merron said:
"It was good to meet Nicola and get her backing for the Bill which will help get the message across to young people about the terrible damage that sunbeds can do."

"I know that Nicola's documentary takes this issue seriously and it was obvious from our conversation how important it is to her to educate young people about the dangers of sunbed use."

"Banning under 18's from using sunbeds is about protecting children from the danger of skin cancer, which affects evermore people and claims too many lives every year.

"It's a shocking fact that children are allowed to use sunbeds, risking burns and cancer because they want a tan.

"The scientific evidence, and organisations like Cancer Research UK bear this out, and I am determined to take action to save lives."

Top 100 EU Regulations to Cost UK Economy £184 billion by 2020

Next British Government must tackle EU overregulation
 
Open Europe recently published a 'Top 100 list' of the most costly EU regulations introduced in the UK since 1998. Based on the UK Government’s own impact assessments, Open Europe estimates that the top 100 existing EU laws will cost the UK economy a staggering £184 billion between 2010 and 2020, even in the unlikely event that no new regulations are be passed during that time period.

For the same amount of money, the UK could abolish its entire budget deficit.

 
Open Europe finds that while the UK benefits from some of these regulations, many laws originating in Brussels are overly prescriptive and unnecessarily burdensome. An incoming UK Government must take a radical new approach to EU legislation.

Open Europe’s Research Director Mats Persson said:
"Despite some attempts at reform, the cost of EU regulation continues to rise year on year. Some of these regulations might be helpful but far too often the cost of EU rules outweigh the benefits. The UK is facing a massive public deficit, so the Government should be doing everything it can to save money. Targeting even just a few of the most costly EU regulations could save taxpayers and business billions every year.
"There is almost no point in trying to cut regulation without concentrating on EU rules, since 72% of the total cost of UK regulation now originates in Brussels. The next UK Government must take a new, radical approach to cutting red tape, and this means getting smarter and tougher when negotiating in Europe.
To read the full Top 100 list, click here.

 
The top four most costly EU regulations by 2020 are:
  1. The Working Time Regulations Cost by 2020: £32.8 bn Prescriptive working time rules which have caused massive problems for the UK’s public sector, including compromising NHS patients’ safety, according to a recent Government report.
  2. The Climate Change Act 2008 Cost by 2020: £28.2 bn A slew of new energy targets and rules which will add £130 to £200 a year to the annual domestic energy bill for a family of four in Britain. The package does not represent the most cost effective way to cut carbon emissions.
  3. Energy Performance Certificates for buildings Cost by 2020: £20.2 bn This Directive gave rise to the Home Information Packs, which have been widely criticised by estate agents, chartered surveyors and consumer groups for creating extra costs for home owners while providing little benefit.
  4. Temporary Agency Workers Directive Cost by 2020: £15.6 bn New rules for temporary agency workers, which, according to former Business Secretary John Hutton, could consign “literally thousands of people to benefit dependency“ in the UK.

For more information on Open Europe’s proposals for how to tackle EU overregulation, see here (Chapter 5).

 
All cost estimates are based on the UK Government’s own impact assessments for regulatory proposals. The sources used to obtain the impact assessments included department websites, command papers produced by the Department for Business every six months, the House of Lords library, and the Office of Public Sector Information website. In a few cases, we also used other sources in order to verify costs and undertake further research on proposals.

 
Where regulations do not run until 2020, or are not implemented until after 2010, the cost estimates have been adjusted accordingly.

 
To reflect the fact that impact assessments in different years are likely to present estimated costs and benefits in terms of different years’ prices, estimates have been adjusted for inflation, so that all figures are presented in 2010 prices. The costs have been adjusted using the Treasury’s GDP deflator series, last updated September 2009. Where an impact assessment does not state which year’s prices have been used, it has been assumed that costs and benefits are expressed in terms of prices in the year that the impact assessment was published.

 
The Present Value (PV) of the cost of regulation in 2020 was calculated using the discount rate of 3.5 percent recommended in the Treasury’s Green Book. Where regulations have not been implemented until November/December of a particular year, those costs have only been counted in the year immediately after the implementation year.

 
Further information on the methodology used for the 'Top 100 list' can be found in 'Out of control? Measuring a decade of EU regulation' – Annex 1.

Friday, 15 January 2010

GE2010: General Election Summary Day #12

More progress for the Welsh Conservatives. A YouGov poll last night for ITV Wales had the Conservatives on 32% (Up 1% point), Labour on 35% (Up 1% point), Liberal Democrats 13% (down 1% point) and Plaid Cymru 13 (down 1% point). That would mean nine more Conservative MPs from Wales if translated into a uniform swing on election day. UKPollingReport has more (here).

Labour plan five new pledges for the General Election campaign. Gordon Brown is drafting five reasons to vote Labour and five reasons to reject the Conservatives. ConservativeHome has more (here).

Overnight, there were newspaper stories of immediate cuts from the Conservatives, cuts in the arts budget, cuts in the aid budget, cuts in middle class welfare, cuts in defence. ConservativeHome front page was plastered with it (here). However, The Economist was not satisfied (here):
"The squeezes [George Osborne] identified amounted to £7 billion ($11.4 billion) a year. In 2009-10 the deficit is £178 billion."
David Cameron underperformed at Prime Minister Questions on Wednesday. The Evening Standard (here) did not think Mr. Cameron has really been winning PMQs for a couple of months now, nor can it be said he been losing. He normally provides enough of a strong soundbite for the news bulletins and that is where his battle is to be fought.

Grant Shapps, Conservative (Welwyn Hatfield) and Shadow Housing Minister, has had a hit rate in the media which has been truely remarkable. He had a big splash in yesterday's Sun (and other newspapers) which showed that government spending on propaganda advertising was soaring in this election run-up. Labour ministers, said Mr Shapps,
"should not be raiding the taxpayers' pockets to try to keep their own seats."
Meanwhile Nick Clegg, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats told Attitude, a gay lifestyle magazine, that David Cameron was
"someone who is 'very difficult to trust' on the issue of gay rights."
I wonder if he will play as dirty in the televised debates?

Watching the media, watching us. One of the most important roles that the blogosphere can play in the election campaign is to keep an eye out for media bias. Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome knocked The Telegraph yesterday evening for a story that The Mirror would have been proud of (in fact, it was written by an ex-Mirror journalist now working for the Barclay Brothers). Iain Dale has a bigger target today. He's got the BBC's One Show in his cross-hairs for an appalling piece of anti-Conservative bias last night.

Acknowledgement: ConservativeHome | ToryDiry | 15/01/10

Bernard Theobald Stands Down From Inter-Council Planning Body

Former Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr. Bernard Theobald, Independent (Wold View Ward) has resigned as Chairman of an influential inter-authority planning committee before councillors could vote on whether to keep him.

The Lincolnshire Echo is reporting that Cllr. Theobald announced yesterday he would be stepping down as Chairman of the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee - which brings together four councils with the aim of getting better planning decisions outcomes within the region - following calls for his resignation. Cllr. Theobald was expected to lose the position after a motion was tabled that he should resign by the Leader of City of Lincoln Council, Cllr. Darren Grice, Conservative (Bracebridge Ward) and Leader of North Kesteven District Council. Cllr. Mrs. Marion Brighton OBEConservative (Heighington and Washingborough Ward).

Cllr. Theobald announced his decision to leave the post voluntarily as the committee met in Sleaford. He was asked to resign as Leader of the Council by his deputy Cllr. Adam Duguid, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward), and has been suspended by the Gainsborough Constituency Conservative Association for six months as a neutral act. Cllr. Theobald blames the Lincolnshire Echo investigation in to matters related to planning at the council for being forced to resign and is understood to be seeking redress.

Cllr. Grice, who chaired the committee meeting in Cllr Theobald's place, told members:
"We are innocent until proven guilty. I will be having a discussion with Councillor Theobald after the meeting and the invitation will always be there once Cllr Theobald has ridden through the difficulties facing him.

"This is not a judgement on Cllr Theobald. It's about driving forward the very important work of this committee as it is bigger than one individual."
Cllr. Grice said this included all committee members and not just Cllr Theobald.
"I fully support him in his campaign against the Echo."

West Lindey District Council Refuse and Recycling Collections Update

All areas the council were not able to get to on Wednesday were picked up yesterday with the exception of two properties near Legsby which remain inaccessible. Areas outstanding from Thursday, in the Lincoln Fringe, are as follows:

Black Bins

Nettleham
  • Ash Tree Avenue
  • Riverdale
  • Jubilee Court
  • Orchard Way
  • Brookfield Avenue
  • Crescent Close
  • The Croft
Burton (All the village)
North Carlton (All the village)
South Carlton (All the village)
Apley (All the village)

Blue Bins

Burton

  • Main St (From S-Bend to top of hill)
North Carlton (All the village)
Stainfield (All the village)
Apley (All the village)
New Apley (All the village)
Low Apley (All the village)

The council expect to collect all these properties plus all Fridays work by the end of work today. If they do not meet this target any outstanding work will be collected on Saturday.
 
In a statement on the Council website they say:
"Once again we are sorry for any inconvenience caused and rest assured every effort is being made to rectify the situation. 

"As we are prioritising on catching up on refuse and recycling this week, we are unable to collect garden waste this week."

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Labour City Councillors Attack Discounted Council Tax Rate for Pensioners

Labour councillors on the City of Lincoln Council have attacked a decision made by the cabinet of the Conservative-led council to keep a specific council tax reduction for pensioners.

The City of Lincoln Council has announced it will stick with a scheme which sees elderly residents pay the previous year's council tax rates, currently saving pensioners the lowly sum of 50p a month.

The authority, which sets the rate, believes that it means 'pounds back in the pensioners' pocket', giving them a fairer deal.

However, Leader of the Opposition, Cllr. Ric Metcalfe, Labour (Gebe Ward), has attacked the reduction at a council meeting on Tuesday. 5th January, calling it 'completely useless' scheme.

Directing his attack to the Leader of the Council, Cllr. Metcalfe addressed the meeting saying:
"I wonder if you or your colleagues realise what a completely useless scheme this is.

"If this matter went before council, we would ask for it to be deferred. You could utilise money used for this for a concerted take-up campaign to identify pensioners not claiming the benefits they are entitled to."
Council Tax bills have increased by more than the rate of inflation, and many people on fixed incomes find the increase in the council tax difficult to afford. Independent studies have identified that pensioners are amongst this group of people. The Conservatives decided to introduce the reduced rates to the elderly last year, deferring one year's rise in council tax and providing a significant saving of, on average, around 4% this year.

Cllr. Metcalfe, presented an argument suggestng that because the total council tax bill will go up a year in lieu, this means they could pay more one year than regular taxpayers. Unfortunately that is simply not true, at worst if the deferrment was halted - as the Labour Group propose - then the elderly would be paying the same rate as other council taxpayers.

Cllr. Ms Karen Lee, Labour (Carholme Ward), also attacked the decision, saying:
"This 'saving' for pensioners is a huge con. You obviously haven't got the nous to work this out properly."
The freeze only applies to the City of Lincoln Council's share of the tax – not the county council or police authority's share. The final council tax rate for the coming year has not been set.


Leader of the Council, Cllr. Darren Grice, Conservative (Bracebridge Ward) said it was a justified move.
"Labour would cease the pensioner discount scheme, because they don't think it is warranted.

"We think any pounds we can get back in the pensioner's pocket is better than in the pocket of city hall. They don't agree with that. They're going back to their tax and spend policy which got the council into the mess we are now sorting out."
City of Lincoln Council have produced this helpful video:

Nettleham Parish Councillors Annoyed by District Council's Planning Decision

Last night West Lindsey District Council's Planning Committee met for the first time this year, following the postponement of the meeting from last week due to adverse weather conditions. At the meeting a long-running dispute between a property owner, the parish council and the planning authority was resolved. Resolved, much to the dissatisfaction of those members of Nettleham Parish Council who attended last night's Parish Council meeting.

For four years now the parish council has objected to a gated-lean-to area constructed in a sensitive location in the conservation area in the village, the district council supported the parish council's objections in March last year and refused retrospective planning permission.

Last night, Cllr. Alf Frith, Liberal Democrat (Nettleham Ward), effectively torpedoed any possible satisfactory amelioration of the issues by stating the parish council's continued objection at the meeting and then giving his own, personal, contrary view.

Cllr. Frith said:
"Thank you Chairman - I'll declare an interest as a member of the parish council. I don't take any part in planning discussions at the parish council, but I have been asked tonight, because the parish councillor who should have come can't make it - I have been asked tonight if I will put their representation forward - which I will do.

"They, the Parish Council, still maintain their objections to what is there and to this planning application. They have, it has - a long running - saga. I think it's about four years ago when it first started - when it first started, things - things happening, without planning permission. So it has gone on a long time and I can understand the Parish Council's frustration because it has gone on, and on, and on. So they still maintain their objection to it, they think - they believe this should be turned down as it was previously in March.

"My own view is that in March, in the report of the planning officer, it did say 'car-port access gate which is set back from the High Street frontage building line with a plainer style of gates with railings would be a more appropriate treatment'. Now with that being in the refusal, in March, I take the view that this, now, which has been negotiated - I know a lot of work has been gone in by the conservation officer and the planning officer and a lot of work - erm - I think now - I - er - accept the application as it has come forward. I - er - I take no notice of the letter which we have received recently it's - I - it's an ongoing [smirks] problem, but I will support the present application."
The Chairman of the Planning Committee, Cllr. Chris Underwood-Frost, Conservative (Scotter Ward), then enquires of Cllr. Frith:

"Can I just ask if you are moving it?"
Cllr. Frith responds:
"No, no I won't move it because I represented the Parish Council."
The Planning Committee voted unanimously in favour of approval. Whilst at the Parish Council meeting I received a text message informing me of this fact and informed those present of the decision that had taken place at West Lindsey District Council. The reaction from fellow councillors can be summed up as at best annoyed and at worst angry.

Cllr. Malcolm Leaning, Liberal Democrat (Nettleham Ward), who also serves on Nettleham Parish Council and is a member of the Planning Committee at West Lindsey District Council failed to attend either the Parish Council or Planning Committee meetings.

Leadership Contest Final Furlong


Update to 'Leadership Contest Speculation Begins'.

The battle to become the Leader of the West Lindsey District Council Conservative Group will reach the finishing post today.

The West Lindsey District Council Conservative Group will meet this evening and elect a new Group Leader and Deputy Group Leader. These two councillors will then, by convention, become Leader and Deputy Leader of West Lindsey District Council, following the resignation or Cllr. Bernard Theobald (Wold View Ward) and Cllr. Adam Duguid (Market Rasen Ward) who, it is understood, is not contesting the Deputy Leadership.

Since Cllr. Theobald's suspention from the Conservative Party, preceded by his surprise resignation as the Council's Leader, Cllr. Adam Duguid has been Acting Leader of West Lindsey District Council, it is understood that Cllr. Ian Fleetwood was made interim leader of the group. Nominations for the post were to be recieved by the Agent yesterday and it is believed that both positions will be contested elections.

Cllr. Ian Fleetwood, Conservative (Bardney Ward), emerged as favourite to secure the top job. One member of the Conservative Group confided in me last week:
"We know, it's going to be Ian."
Cllr. Fleetwood previously held the position of Conservative Group Leader at the authority and is also a Lincolnshire County Council member representing the Bardney and Cherry Willingham Division.

The Lincolnshire Echo also suggested Councillors Lewis Strange, Conservative (Kelsey Ward), and Chris Underwood-Frost, Conservative (Scottor Ward), whilst I predicted that former Deputy Group Leader, Cllr. Mrs. Meg Davidson, Conservative (Fiskerton Ward) and Chairman of the Council, Cllr. Mrs. Jessie Milne, Conservative (Lea Ward) might also be in contention.

There was some speculation that the Group may decide to have two Deputy Leaders of the Council, although the Group's constitution only allows for one Deputy Goup Leader. Based on conversations with Conservatives at West Lindsey it is thought that Cllr. Fleetwood's leadership style may not be too dissimilar to that of his predecessor Cllr. Theobald and so the likelihood of a triple leadership team seems to be receeding.

Crime Figures for Nettleham (Dec/Jan 2009-10)

Related content: 'Crime Figures for Nettleham (Nov/Dec 2009)'.

The following details emerged in a Police Report that was submitted and considered at last night's Nettleham Parish Council Meeting, it give details of occurrences in Nettleham between Monday, 14th December 2009 to Wednesday, 13th January 2010.

Between the dates the Police had three crimes and twenty-six incidents reported to them. The most significant and relvant to the Parish Council was:

Monday, 28th December 2009 – A vehicle was stopped on A46 at Nettleham for a minor traffic offence, whilst being dealt with by the Officer, cannabis was discovered in the vehicle. The driver was dealt with for the offences. The driver is not local to Nettleham.

The incidents highlighted to the parish council were as follows:

Tuesday, 15th December and Saturday, 19th December 2009 – Three incidents were reported related to concern for welfare of elderly persons. They were all checked and all was in order. It does serve as a reminder to encourage people to check on elderly neighbours in the village that may just appreciate a visit during the cold, long nights.


Tuesday, 15th December 2009 – A large safe was found on Sudbrooke Lane, it is believed that it had been stolen from a care home in or around the Lincoln area the same night. A Scenes of Crime Officer collected the safe and enquiries are on going to link it back to a premise.

Monday, 4th January 2010 – In the early evening a suspicious incident was reported on Church View. A male was seen in the callers rear garden trying shed doors, when the male realised he was being watched, he pulled his cap down and left.

Six of the incidents during this time period were road traffic collisions, predominately due to the road conditions. Again another reminder on how important it is at this time of year to allow extra time for journeys, to remember good vehicle maintenance, to fully defrost your vehicle before driving off in the morning.


There was only only incident at Mulsanne Park during this period, this involved a vehicle performing hand brake turns in the car park late at night. Unfortunately when police arrived the vehicle had already left the village.

All other incidents are of a personal or police nature and not of public concern