Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Nettleham Parish Council Plan 1.5% Tax Increase

Nettleham Parish Council have agreed in principle to increase the tax taken from the local residents of Nettleham by 1.5%.

Councillors met yesterday for their annual budget meeting and discussed a range of programmes and facilities delivered by the authority. Whilst the Council's Clerk had put forward, for the second year running, a balance budget; Councillors agreed to an increase of £1,750 on the current year's precept (that portion of the Council Tax that goes to the Parish Council) of £114,886 to £116,636.

The additional revenue is to be used to 'future proof' the Council's reserves., which currently stand at £105,668. The 2013/14 budget will add £24,250 to the Council's reserves.

Parish Councillor Giles McNeill said:
"I think this is the wrong decision at this time. Whilst we may be back into growth it is too soon to take a decision to tax people more - especially when the money is being put aside for the future. I am pleased to say that I voted against this proposal, and was pleased to see that other colleague joined me in voting against."

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

PCC 2012: Melvyn Barrett Quits Commissioner Race

Mr. Mervyn Barrett OBE has withdrawn from the contest to become Lincolnshire's first Police and Crime Commissioner the Lincolnshire Echo is tonight reporting.  Mr. Barrett's decision followed a campaign which had fallen to pieces in recent days after a disastrous turn at a hustings event in Boston, the resignation of his entire campaign team on Saturday because of revelations which were subsequently published in The Sunday Telegraph regarding the financing of his campaign by a group likely to lobby for greater privatisation of policing services.

Mr. Barrett confirmed he was pulling out ahead of tonight's and Crime Commissioner hustings at Lincoln Drill Hall, organised by the Lincolnshire Echo.  Mr. Barrett said:
"I will be withdrawing from the election and will be issuing a press statement tomorrow."
The Telegraph's Andrew Gilligan, online, was quick to claim the scalp for the paper:
"Mervyn Barrett, the remarkably well-funded independent candidate to be police and crime commissioner in Lincolnshire, reacted with the standard huffing and puffing to our expose on Sunday about his links with a neo-con US thinktank. Not that he’s actually denied it, or anything else specific that we wrote, of course. And tonight, inevitably, two days after his campaign team resigned, Mervyn has followed them out of the door."
Mr. Barrett, one of the more high profile candidates, worked for the crime reduction charity NACRO for more than three decades and was granted an OBE in 1999 for services to crime reduction.

Monday, 22 October 2012

PCC2012: 'Independent's' Entire Campaign Team Resigns

A candidate campaigning to become one Lincolnshire's new first elected Police and Crime Commissioner has being secretly backed by American lobbyists and companies pushing for police privatisation, The Sunday Telegraph has revealed.

Mr. Mervyn Barrett has been producing expensive leaflets, free DVDs and full-page newspaper adverts in his bid to be elected as next month.

Unusually for a rural, local election, Mr. Barrett has employed professional campaign staff, commissioned weekly opinion polls, opened 'field offices' and is driven in a chauffeured Mercedes, the paper alledges. He has poured tens of thousands of pounds into the elections, far more than any other candidate anywhere else in Britain.

Mr. Barrett describes himself as an 'Independent', who is opposed to 'party politics' in policing. He has pointedly refused to disclose who is funding him, despite widespread local suspicions generated by the intensity and professionalism of his campaign.

At a hustings event held in Boston Mr. Barrett's campaign is described as having 'fallen apart at the seams' when he was not able to develop a 'coherent, cogent argument, let alone find the ability to string three sentences together'. He also was set upon at the hustings by those present for advocating 'cannabis coffee shops' as a part of his drugs policy. Mr. Barrett's professional campaign manager Mr. De Ungar Brown swore numerous times, despite being requested to desist.

The entire campaign team resigned on Saturday, within hours of being contacted by The Sunday Telegraph. Responding to the loss of his campaign team and the article by the paper Mr. Barrett said in a statement:
"I now wish to take time to reflect on both the reaction to the Telegraph article and also to consider how best I could continue my campaign following the resignation of my Campaign Director and Campaign team. I also wish to consult with my legal advisers regarding a number of inaccuracies that the original article contained.

"I will be making no further comment at this stage; however I will be holding a full press conference on Wednesday, 24th October."
The Sunday Telegraph suggested that his campaign has been run by a team from a US-based neo-conservative think tank, the Fund for the New American Century, funded in part by a variety of corporate donors with an interest in public-sector privatisation.

The papers's investigation of Mr Barrett’s campaign website reveals that it is registered to a New York and Washington-based 'political action committee', MatthewPAC, part of The Fund for the New American Century, whose website says it is 'dedicated to building America’s future by supporting candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation'.

The Sunday Telegraph reports it has established that Mr.De Unger Brown, Mr Barrett’s 'special adviser', campaign manager and press spokesman until yesterday, is Chairman of the Fund for the New American Century. Commenting to the newspaper Mr. De Unger Brown said:
"We support Republican candidates. It is a centre-Right organisation.

"I don’t think that neo-con would be an unfair description."
Mr. David Bowles, standing for the Lincolnshire Independent's Party, commented to the paper:
"It is a very slick campaign but it appears that Mervyn is no more than a puppet.

"Every time I have tried to contact him, the response has always come back from Matthew and every time I’ve tried to meet him it’s been Matthew I’ve met instead."
Mr. Bowles claimed that last week Mr. De Unger Brown asked to meet him to discuss the possibility of an electoral deal, with Mr Barrett becoming his deputy, the paper reported.

Conservative candidate Richard Davies, who is front-runner to be Lincolnshire's first Police and Crime Commissioner, said:
"I think he has come into Lincolnshire to try to run a big presidential style political campaign and that does not really work here."
Under Electoral Commission rules independent candidates do not have to reveal their source of donations until ninety days after the ballot. Its guidelines state candidates are able to accept contributions only from 'certain mainly UK-based sources'.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

EXCLUSIVE: 'Tractor' Spontaniously Combusts on Washdyke Lane, Nettleham

Remains of the 'Tractor' that caught fire on
Washdyke Lane, Nettleham
Residents of Washdyke Lane, Nettleham have been left shocked after what has been described as a 'tractor' caught fire earlier today. Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue were called to the scene shortly after midday.

According to an eyewitness account the driver of the vehicle was seen running from side-to-side of the engine with a small extinguisher trying to bring flames under control. The tractor’s fuel tank burst, spilling fuel down road, with flames up to twenty feet high, visible from the A46 ring road at its height.

Around lunchtime on Tuesday, 2nd October 2012 the vehicle caught fire and by two o'clock, the road remained closed between the end of Kingsway to the bus-stop and the Highways department had been contacted.

Firemen used two main jets and two breathing apparatus, and extinguished the fire. One fire engine remained on scene to clear out the area. The cause of the fire is still unknown. No one was reportedly injured in the incident.

Passengers on the No. 11 bus, arriving in Nettleham from Lincoln, as they turned on to Washdyke Lane were faced with a scene of carnage on the carriage way.

District Councillor for the Nettleham Ward, Giles McNeill, speaking at the scene, said:
"It seems to have been a very severe fire, and very serious incident. I have spoken with a member of Lincolnshire Police to understand what may have happened here today.
"I am not aware if anyone has been injured at this early stage. I hope that those involved are safe and well and that answers will be forthcoming."