Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Lincoln County Councillor Resigns

Rachel Hubbard has resigned as the Councillor for the Lincoln Bracebridge Division of Lincolnshire County Council.

Mrs. Hubbard was elected in June 2009 and in her four years with the council served as Executive Support Councillor to Cllr. Peter Robinson, portfolio holder for Community Safety, Cohesion and Diversity, and as a member of the Economic Scrutiny Committee.

Cllr. Martin Hill OBE, Conservative Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said:
"It's a real shame that she's had to step down because of her health.
"A new councillor for Lincoln Bracebridge will be elected in May, but, in the meantime Cllr. Kelly Smith, who represents a neighbouring division, has agreed to fill in."

Monday, 18 February 2013

Local Councillor Obtains £500 Grant for Nettleham Cricket Club

District Councillor Giles McNeill, Conservative (Nettleham Ward), has obtained £500 from the West Lindsey's Councillor Initiative Fund to help Nettleham Cricket Club with repairs and improvement of the two practice nets located at Mulsanne Park, Nettleham.

Cllr. McNeill commented:
"As Chairman of the Mulsanne Park Users Committee I am fully aware of the important role that Nettleham Cricket Club plays in getting children of all ages and adults involved in playing sport. 
"It is important that monies which are available at district level are drawn down to our communities."

Friday, 15 February 2013

Bad Night For All Parties in Gainsborough East By-Election

Liberal Democrats in West Lindsey were breathing a heaving sigh of relief last night as their candidate, Cllr. Mark Binns, emerged as the winner, just, of the By-Election for the vacant seat on West Lindsey Dsitrict Council within the Gainsborough East Ward.
The By-Election was called for Thursday, 14th February 2013 following the death of Cllr. Mel Starkey, Liberal Democrat (Gainsborough East), who passed away at the end of October 2012.

However, there was little comfort, or good news to be taken by any of the four parties contesting the seat.

The Liberal Democrats who had a commanding 56.6% of the poll when last contested in 2011 dropped 27.96 percentage points losing nearly half their supporters. Cllr. Binns also has one of the smallest majorities of any of the thirty-seven district councillors. He equals that of Cllr. Bridger, Liberal Democrat (Market Rasen) as both men have majorities of 20. Only Cllr. Darcel, Independent Group (Fiskerton), Cllr. Dobbie, Liberal Democrat (Gainsborough North), and Cllr. Patterson, Conservative (Scampton) have smaller majorities - 19, 19 and 10 respectively.

Meanwhile Mr. Mike Devine, the Labour candidate, faired badly. Widely expected to win, he came second, with the Labour vote down by 10.35 percentage points compared to the average poll from 2011. In spite of this failure, some consolation was provided in a swing of nearly 19% to the party, from the incumbents.

The United Kingdom Independence Party candidate, Dr. Howard Thompson, came third in the contest. He did considerably better than predicted, directly preventing a Labour victory. UKIP did however slip from the second place which they achieved in the Lincolnshire County Council elections in 2009, for the divsion which covers the same area as Gainsborough East and some of Gainsborough North wards.

Mr. Richard Butroid, the Conservative candidate, had little to console himself with ending in fourth position. The party's poll remained relatively static, when compared with the average poll from 2011, up 0.66 percentage points. The performance was better than predicted. However stoic Conservative supporters in the area, the changes in the electoral geography of the ward have left the party in a worse position.

Gainsborough East Ward
West Lindsey District Council

Mark Binns, Liberal Demcrat - 169 (28.64%)
Richard Butroid, Conservative - 129 (21.86%)
Richard Coupland, Labour149 (25.25%)
Howard Thompson, UKIP143 (24.24%)

Turnout: 598 (11.44%) | Spoilt Ballots: 8

Swing: 18.81% from the Liberal Democrats to Labour

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Local Cricket Club Receives £250 CAV Grant

Nettleham Cricket Club have successfully applied for £250 from West Lindsey District Council's Community Action and Volunteering Fund (CAV), administered by Community Lincs, to purchase equipment to improve the quality of the pitch.

The Club was anxious to maintain the quality of the playing surface at Mulsanne Park, Nettleham and provide the best possible pitch. Current the club uses a scarifier to achieve an even bounce, the current equipment has blades that gently slice the pitch, but they recieved advice that they need blades which would also control and remove thatch.

In all 48 new blades will be fitted during March 2013 in readiness for the new season. The total cost is £285 with the CAV fund providing nearly 88% of the cash with the Club picking up the rest of the bill.

The change is expected to enable players to reacher higher standards in the sport, the improved surface will also lead to more consitent bounce, imporving safety.
Cllr. Giles McNeill, Conservative (Nettleham Ward) said:
"I am thrilled that Nettleham Cricket Club have been awarded this money from the Community Action and Vounteering Fund. As chairman of Nettleham Parish Council's Mulsanne Park Users Committee I have been urging the local clubs to apply for grants available at West Lindsey.

"I have also signed off an application by the club for support from the Councillors Initiative Fund for £500 to help with improving the practice nets. I am hopeful that they will meet the criteria for an award to be made."

Monday, 11 February 2013

Forty New Jobs Created in Nettleham

Complaint Handling Services, in Nettleham, wants to take on more claims advisors to more than double its workforce.
Staff at Deepdale Enterprise Park in Nettleham
Picture: Anne Draper
The new recruits will help customers claim money back from banks that have mis-sold payment protection insurance.

All the positions will come with permanent, full-time contracts, although the company could take on some part time staff.

Ms. Aily Slade, Human Resources officer at the firm, said the business had been impressed with the skills of workers in the Lincoln area since the branch opened last June. She said:
"We're recruiting in Lincoln because we have found the quality of candidates is higher here than in other areas and bigger cities.

"We've found people are very friendly here and there's a good community spirit, and that's what we're all about.

"There's also a better level of qualifications in Lincoln.

"Whether it's GCSEs or up to degree level, it just seems to be a good area for it."
Claims advisors can earn between £13,000 and £17,000 a year on a basic salary. However, the firm says there is potential for people to earn up to £2,000 a month extra in bonuses. There are thirty people working at the company in Nettleham, with a similar number working in the original office in Altrincham, in Greater Manchester. Although the Altrincham branch opened in 2010, the firm has chosen to expand in Lincolnshire. Ms Slade added:
"We get a better application rate here in Lincoln too, although Altrincham is in a bigger area.

"There's also not as much competition in this area from other call centres."
The firm offers a variety of incentives for good results and last year took a group of the top workers to Las Vegas. Ms. Slade said she was looking for people with some previous experience in a similar job.
"We're looking for people with sales experience, some personality and who are able to gain a rapport with people – someone with a bit about them."
Current claims advisor Mr. Dan Pounds, joined the firm last June. He said:
"It ticks the ethical box for me really. 
"The money is out there and the banks are holding on to it, so it's about getting the money to the people that deserve it. 
"The company is also good at training people so they can progress through the company."
To apply, e-mail a Cirriculum Vitae to Ms Slade at aily.slade@complainthandlingservices.co.uk

Friday, 1 February 2013

Councillors Act to Support Vulnerable and Bring Homes Back Into Use

West Lindsey District Councillors this week approved a local Ccouncil Tax support scheme that will protect vulnerable residents while encouraging owners of empty properties to bring them back into use.

Changes in Government policy announced as part of the austerity measures mean that in order to avoid a funding gap in council tax benefit of more than £1 million (split between West Lindsey District & Lincolnshire County councils and the Lincolnshire Police Authority). West Lindsey District Council has had to look closely at how much financial support can be made available to people who were previously in receipt of council tax benefit.

Following an eight-week public consultation, West Lindsey District Councillors approved a proposal at a full meeting of the Council on Monday, 28th January for a Local Council Tax Support Scheme designed to protect the most vulnerable people throughout the district while also being fair to all taxpayers.

Leader of the Council, Cllr. Burt Keimach, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward) said:
“In order to protect the most vulnerable residents of our district the decision was taken to change some of the reductions currently available to those who own empty properties and to charge an additional amount of council tax on properties that have been empty for more than two years.
“There are currently more than 1,500 empty properties in West Lindsey, and more than a quarter of these will have been unoccupied for two years by April 1, 2013.
“We need to encourage owners of empty property to put these back into use to help provide much-needed housing and minimise homelessness.
“The new scheme must, by law, provide protection for pensioners but by changing the empty homes reductions we are also able to protect those who receive a war pension, a disability premium and those who receive a carers premium.”
Under the scheme everyone of working age, unless they are in a vulnerable group, will be expected to contribute towards the council tax by paying 8.5 per cent of their council tax liability.

Second adult rebate will no longer exist for working age customers, all non-dependent deductions (where other adults live in the property who are not dependant on the claimant) will increase slightly and in order to receive the council tax support weekly entitlement must be £2.50 or greater.

The changes affecting empty properties will be:
  • Any unfurnished property undergoing structural repair will receive a 25 per cent discount from the council tax for up to 12 months.
  • Any unoccupied and unfurnished property will receive a discount of 100 per cent for two months followed by a full charge.
  • Any property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished for two years or more will be liable for a premium of 50 per cent of the council tax, meaning the owner will pay 150 per cent. This latter change is to encourage owners of empty property to put them back into use quickly thereby increasing housing supply and minimising homelessness.
There are currently 1,583 empty properties in West Lindsey, including 444 properties that will have been unoccupied for two years by April 1, 2013, when the changes to council tax benefit will come into effect. Cllr. Keimach added:
“The council has been forced to make tough decisions regarding council tax support but we believe we have reached the best solution given the circumstances. We are committed to protecting our vulnerable residents, and we will hopefully see more empty properties brought back into use for our communities.”