Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Councillor Initiative Fund Cash Available

West Lindsey's District Council's Local Councillor Initiative Fund enables each District Councillor to put forward proposals for expenditure in their Wards to fund projects or initiatives which benefit the local community. All applications submitted are considered and assessed against how they contribute towards the themes, priorities and outcomes of the district council's Corporate Plan 2011/14.

Cllr. Giles McNeill (left) and Cllr. Malcolm Leaning (Right)
with an 'Aqua Sac' near the Chruch Lane bridge, Nettleham.
Nettleham's district councillors Giles McNeill (Conservative) and Malcolm Leaning (Liberal Democrat), have worked together and secured £500 of funding for Nettleham Parish Council to buy additional hi-tech 'aqua-sac' sandbags to be used in any future flooding incidents in the village.
A total of £4,000 over the next two years is available to each district councillor. From April 2013 a new allocation of money will be available to all 37 of the district Councillors.

Cllr. McNeill siad:
"I think this is a really great scheme, even though I was only recently elected, last September, I have put what monies I had available to me to good use; £30 for Neighbourhood Watch signs in Westfield Approach and £500 for Community Get-Togethers in North Greetwell. £500 has gone to Nettleham Cricket Club to help with repairs and improvement of the practice nets at Mulsanne Park in Nettleham. £90 has also gone towards some photographic equipment for children at Nettleham Infant School.
Details of the scheme's criteria can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

West Lindsey is Home to Lincolnshire's Best Kept Village

Residents and parish councillors gathered in Nettleham this week for the unveiling of a bench recognising the village as one of the best kept in Lincolnshire.


Photo: M. Leaning
Nettleham was named as joint winner of the Best Kept Village 50th Anniversary award, organised by Community Lincs. Sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this special award was given to Nettleham - and also to Tealby - for having the most consistent scores in the past 50 years of the competition.
Pennells Garden Centres, which sponsor the annual award and donate trees to the winning villages each year, donated a bench to both of the overall winners. Managing director Richard Pennell said:
“These two villages over the years have been consistently good. The enthusiasm of the people involved and the care that they take is great.”
The Lincolnshire Best Kept Village competition has been run by Community Lincs since 1962. In that time Nettleham has won its category (for villages between 2,001 and 7,000 residents) 11 times, most recently in 2010. Tealby has won its category eight times, coming second on 10 occasions.

Speaking at the presentation of the bench on Nettleham village green, chairman of Nettleham Parish Council Cllr Terry Williams said: “This was very much a tri-partite effort. It was an effort on the part of our residents, businesses and the parish council.
“I thank the residents all for their contribution over a 50 year period, for making sure our gardens are kept neat and tidy.
“I also thank the businesses around the village for making sure their premises are neat and tidy and making sure they have flower displays.
“The contribution of the parish council has been making sure the verges are tidy and cut.”
Co-ordinator of the awards for Community Lincs, Teresa Palmer, said villages were judged on their presentation, including whether there was any litter, how memorials and churchyards were kept, whether wildlife is catered for, and community spirit. She said:
“One of the strong points of Nettleham is there are so many different groups and so much going on for all age groups.”
West Lindsey District Council has supported the competition for many years and both Nettleham district councillors, Cllr. Giles McNeill, Conservative and Cllr Malcolm Leaning, Liberal Democrat, attended the presentation. Cllr. Malcolm Leaning said:
 “I am delighted my home village of Nettleham, where I was born, has come equal first over the past 50 years in the ‘Best Kept Village in Lincolnshire’ competition.
“Having been a member of Nettleham Parish Council for 48 years I can remember the first time we voted to enter the competition in 1967 – which was also the first time we won it!
“The award of a seat will ‘sit’ and be well used on Nettleham village green.”
For more information go to http://lincolnshirebestkeptvillages.co.uk

Monday, 8 April 2013

North Greetwell Community Comes Together for Litter Pick

The local community in North Greetwell came together on Saturday, 6th April for a ‘Spring Clean’ litter picking session.

Eighteen volunteers turned out early on the cool, slightly breezy morning to pick litter and debris from the road side, along the A158, which runs through the community from Lincoln to Skegness.  

The litter pick was organised by Greetwell Parish Councillor Sarah Bates with help from West Lindsey District Council’s Street Cleaning Team, who provided latex gloves, litter picking grips, waste disposal bags and organise collection and disposal of the waste that gets collected.

West Lindsey District Councillor, Giles McNeill, who represents the Nettleham Ward, which includes the parish of Greetwell, said:
“It is really great to see a good number of people turning out and volunteering for this. I was mucking in with our County Councillor, Jackie Brockway, picking up plenty of cigarette butts and then later larger items of general litter.

“There were all sorts of litter to be picked up, mainly stuff from the carriageway, empty cartons, bottles, sweet and crisp packets, cigarette stubbs and tabacco packets as well as a number of more unusual items like an estate agents board and a stray sand bag.”

If you would like to organise a community litter pick in your area you can contact West Lindsey’s Customer Service Team on 01427 676676 or e-mail customer.services@west-lindsey.gov.uk.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Starting Pistol Fired in 2013 Race for County Hall

Nominations for the local elections taking place on Thursday, 2nd May 2013 for Lincolnshire County Council have drawn to a close.


But the quantity of nominations for each political party - or in some cases the lack thereof - can reveal a considerable amount about the state of the political parties in Lincolnshire.

As the various parties line up like race horses on the starting line, waiting for the staring pistol to be fired, it is clear some mounts have the stamina to stay the course and go on to victory whilst others will limp in to last place. In these elections, in this race, it is winner takes all and so whomever is first-past-the-post matters.

First off, the Conservatives. Having had a voluptious administration of 61 of a possible 77 councillors over the course of the past four year term, led by Martin Hill, the party is a powerful force in the way in which the county is governed. They fielded a full slate of 77 last time and have done so again. No signs of any weakness in this stallion. Whilst perhaps past its peak of four years ago, nevertheless odds are on for this favourite.

Secondly, the Lincolnshire Independents. The official opposition at the authority for the past four years after a disasterous set of election results for Labour allowed for a coalition of the willing (Lincolnshire Independents, other Independents and members elected for the Boston By Pass party (which later merged with the Lincolnshire Independents)) to cobble together the support to allow Marianne Overton to become Leader of the Opposition. Fielding 29 (38%) candidates, up for 16 (23%) last time around. Certainly not enough candidates to put Mrs. Overton within reach of the magic 39 seats needed to have a majority. Make no mistake this is a bona fide political party. However, with the inherant instability of not having a whip expect contradictions, surprises and chaos. A scratchy performer.

Next, the Labour party. They have increased their deployment from 63 (87%) last time to a full slate. The party, back in opposition at Westminster, has found popularity in the polls at this midway point in the parliament. No doubt regaining some disaffected supporters who left during their time in government. Riding high in the polls nationally may not translate to victory in Lincolnshire. Expect a good showing for the party restoring their numbers back into double figures and a return to the opposition benches at county hall.

The Liberal Democrats. Well. They fielded a slate of 64 (83%) last time. This time that has dwindled to just 37 (48%) of the available seats to contest, also short of the half way mark. They are in no danger of forming an administration. Known for their ability to win by-elections this will be a test of their ability to retain incumbents - a key issue for a party which has dropped since the 2010 General Election from poll ratings of above 20% to around 10% now. Seats which they have held in successive elections, such as those in Gainsborough, are likely to be vulnerable to a Labour advance. Expect a poor performance, unlikely to complete the race unscathed.

UKIP, or more fully the United Kingdom Independence Party, are - if you believe the spin - 'a new force in british politics', they are 'breaking the mould' and becoming 'the real opposition'. Or put another way they are what the Liberal Democrats used to be. A party of protest. Fielding an impressive 60 (77%) candidates, up form 10 (13%) in 2009, they hope to capitalise on their party's current momentum. In April last year they started being included in poll reports. Moving from low single digits in April last year to a more sturdy double digit figure of 10-12%; putting them toe-to-toe with the Liberal Democrats in many polls. Their party leader Nigel Farage MEP is expected to tour the county during next week. However, don't expect a tide of purple to swell around County Hall. Like the Lincolnshire Independents, many of their candidates will be new to politics and to campaigns. This has the potential to cause them difficulties during the campaign and create doubt in the minds of electors. Pundits are predicting an upset for some Conservatives, who might lose at the expense of voters backing UKIP. Fighting slightly against the tide this time as the last county contest was held at the same time as elections for the European Parliament. At this stage an unknown quantity. Might be worth a flutter in the late stages.

There are a number of minor parties contesting some seats in the election. The Trades Union and Socialists Against Cuts candidates have made consistent, steady, if somewhat slow, improvements in the number of votes they have garnered to their Lincoln City Council candidates, since the last county contest in 2009. Fielding 6 candidates, up from just 1 last time. Not expected to win any seats, but may cause trouble for Labour in Lincoln. The British National Party have fielded 4 candidates, down from 22 in 2005. Considered, by those in the know, to be on their last legs, probably destined for the knackers yard. The Greens have fielded 1 candidate, down from 3 in 2009. Slightly surprising given that the party now has a MP, since the 2010 General Election.

Finally, there is that last special group that contest elections. Independents. Real ones. Not Lincolnshire Independents but  people standing who are not affiliated to any party. Actually independent. There were 20 Independent candidates last time around and this time 22. Despite popular myth that apathy is increasing; that people just simply are not interested in politics any more. As this is not a grouping or a party they move all individually in their own unique directions. An independent is not normally a contender in a contest, unless there is a very specific issue in a locality. Incumbert independents can usually be expected to retain their seats. There are none on the council at the current time. So do not expect the old grey mare to make the final furlong in record time.

In conclusion, there are 314 candidates contesting the 77 divisions of Lincolnshire, averaging out at about 4 candidates contesting for each seat. In 2009 there were 282 candidates. This time around everyone has the opportunity to vote Conservative or Labour. Most people have the option to vote UKIP. For a party that for years claimed to be the 'third party' to only field candidates before less than half the electorate is shameful. Whilst not all parties have stood in every division, it is nevertheless good to see a number of minor parties increasing their offering of candidates to the voters. It is good that there is a breadth of choice from the far-right to the far-left and everything in between. It is good for democracy for voters to have a real choice. And soon, voters will go to polling stations across the county an make that choice.

Details Emerge of Future for Linelands

A new facility for older people in Lincolnshire is set to be built in the county, providing what many view as the ‘future of care’.

Council land in Nettleham is to be developed into extra care housing, which offers an alternative to residential care for those still able to maintain their independence.

The site will be made up of self-contained dwellings, meaning residents will be able to live in their own home, with access to round-the-clock on-site support if they need it.

As well as developing the Nettleham site, the council will be investing more than £2.5m into extra care housing across the county between now and the end of 2014/15.

West Lindsey District Councillor, Giles McNeill, Conservative (Nettleham Ward) welcomed the development saying:
"Since it became clear that it was no longer an option for the County Council to be providing care facilities, like Linelands, in Nettleham, directly; I have campaigned vigourously for the site to be utilised for the provision of care for the elderly.
"I am really pleased that plans are now moving forward rapidly to make new provision available, I look forward to seeing full plans in the near future."