News from Leader,
MARIANNE OVERTON MBE
Money for Lincolnshire
Our County Council is very short of funds. We have more people, increased needs, taxes are one of the lowest in the country and government has cut the core funding to nil by 2020. County Council tax is likely to rise by close to 5% this year, using £30m of reserves to balance the books.
In my national role, as Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association, I have been pushing for all of our business rates to be kept locally. This year for the first time, Lincolnshire is one of ten pilot Councils that is allowed to do just that. This is expected to mean we have over £18m more over three years.
Lincolnshire Independents have also consistently sought to find ways our council can make money, within our normal expertise and supporting our core objectives. We have a housing department and have supported the Council in building 200 affordable homes for local people in need.
I was deeply disturbed at the last planning meeting to see the 127 houses at Top Farm, Navenby, come back to planning with apparently minor amendments. This meant that the £173,000 agreed for facilities in Navenby is now to be given back to the developer. I am completely aghast that this government has been so blindly pro-“growth”, that they set the rules to allow developments without contributions, even when it was perfectly affordable and necessary for the local facilities. The applicant also reduced the number of affordable houses from 35% to 25%. That’s less than half the calculated need. All the Independent councillors spoke strongly against the absurdity, but voting almost as one, the Conservatives pushed it through.
Phase 3 of Witham St Hugh’s a further 1250 houses are expected in the local plan. The developer contribution to affordable housing is proposed as only 15%. This goes to the District Council Planning Committee held in public at 5pm on Feb 6th at the NKDC offices in Sleaford.
Meat rendering factory
Thank you to all who have already written to me and to the County Council to make your views clear. I sit on both District and County Council Planning Committees so am well placed to make sure your views are properly represented and help you through the process.
There is no application yet at Norton Disney, but sometimes these are delayed until after a by-election, when councillors may be less influenced by your opinion.
Meanwhile the current owners of the site at Skellingthorpe are progressing an application to demolish and rebuild the current factory on the same site, at Skellingthorpe, including more housing.
Residents spoke very well at full County Council, presenting the petition of 3,200 signatures against the animal waste factory.
Please help save lives by keeping up the reporting of dangerous potholes. I have worked to get a good policy in place, and they are being repaired within 28 days maximum. Very urgent repairs do have to be done in 24hours, so for those, please ring 01522 782070. Best is to use the web, Lincolnshire County Council home page, top right, “report a highways fault”. If you register and download the link to your phone, then you have a very useful tool to send a photo taken with some background, so it can go straight through to action repair.
Other faults can be reported in the same way, including fly-tipping, broken lights, overgrown hedges and signs.
If a pothole has not been reported, then it is hard to claim fair compensation. Any help you can give to help keep our families and neighbours safe is greatly appreciated.
I have supported the sensible extension of the speed limit at Brant Broughton and improvement of the road surface.
Footpath cleared and pothole repaired this week in Wellingore.
Broadband and Mobile Signal
I continue to work on getting decent broadband and mobile phone signals in our area. So far, over 90% of our premises are able to access Superfast broadband 1612 (92%) out of 1737.
Locally, there are 125 premises still to go, of which, 100 premises are included in planned upgrade within the next 12 months. 25 premises (1.43%) are not currently in the plans but can hopefully benefit from the next funding round. Wellingore Heath is with BT for final planning.
We still have underspend from Contract 1 which should support the remaining 10.5 premises with wireless Broadband. Countywide 14K/160k premises are still to do.
We are putting together an application for further Government Funding under the Local Full Fibre Networks programme for full fibre infrastructure across the 9 Districts of Greater Lincolnshire. We are also applying for further ERDF funding to target remaining SMEs.
Local Health Facilities
Witham St Hughs deserves its own health facilities, including for mental health. £120K was set aside, but never used and now lost. The new local plan has set aside land to more than double the size of the village. The Plan would add a further 39,000 more dwellings to the District, though our hospital and ambulance service are already struggling. I fought hard against massive development without adequate facilities and services. We need to push very hard to make sure the health funding does arrive, (over half a million) and that it is spent correctly this time. We need a balance of homes people can afford but only with appropriate jobs, services and facilities.
I spoke to minister Greg Clarke and pushed hard on the government’s door for funds. We have gained some of his new fund. North Kesteven gets £2m, but sadly, they plan to spend it on a roundabout at Sleaford!
As shown on the Blue Planet, many plastic bags end up in the sea and are hugely damaging to wildlife and our environment. From Lincolnshire, we were sending plastic bags to China. We now find they have the poorest record for dealing with them and they can take no more. I have investigated and found that ours have ben sent to Stamford cement works for one and I believe some is just being stored, pending a solution. I, for one, am avoiding plastic bags and single-use plastics. If you are giving that a go, please let me know how you get on!
Lincoln Eastern Bypass
Carillion, the main contractors on the £99m Eastern Bypass, have gone bust and new contractors are now sought. The work has hardly begun, with £5m of the £53m contract paid to date. At risk, are the smaller, local sub-contractors who were forced to accept payment 120 days in arears. More info at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/leb
Two Centenaries in 2018
A hundred years of the RAF and a hundred years since some women got the vote! Our Cliff Cluster agreed to organise a series of celebrations along the string of villages in September. If your village would like to do something to mark the occasion, there are grants available of up to £2,000. Please get in touch with me.
|Millicent FawcettFrom February 6th 1918, women over 30 with property and therefore unmarried, could vote. Today we still have a gender pay gap, as women are less likely to be promoted. Since only a third of local councillors are women and only around 10pc in leadership positions, it shows we are missing out on talent and skills that we need if we are to make the right decisions for all our residents.|
Witham St Hugh’s By-election February 22nd
Postal voting from Feb 5th
This follows the sad loss of Independent Cllr Barbara Wells, elected continuously since 1991, determined to stand by her residents of Eagle, North Scarle, Thorpe on the Hill, Swinderby and Witham St Hughs. Please vote for Lincolnshire Independent, NIKKI DILLON. She is lively and likeable with a striking determination to stand up for residents.
Survey of Local Access Points: Use it or lose it!
Navenby and Bassingham have “local access points” where you can deal with District Council issues, such as planning. Did you know about them? Would you like to use them?
A copy can be printed off for residents to complete by hand. It would be great if you could share some copies if you have any local coffee mornings or any group which come together within your parish.
Children with extra needs – Consultation
There are increasing numbers of children with extra needs. They travel further to special schools that only take children with certain types of needs. This survey looks at our 20 special schools becoming integrated, whether 2 Grantham Special Schools should merge and whether other schools could take more of these children with extra needs. There are consultation events in Feb and March. Please have your say and let me know what you think.
www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/SEND communities or e-mail SENDcommunities@lincolnshire.gov.uk
Happy Days Preschool, The Venue, Navenby
Has space for new children, good premises and new staff. firstname.lastname@example.org 01522 811981
Thank you all for your support and for all you do for our communities. Let me know if I can help further.
Marianne Overton MBE
Councillor Marianne Overton MBE
Independent Councillor for Branston and Navenby on Lincolnshire County Council and for the Cliff Villages on North Kesteven District Council
Leader of the Lincolnshire Independents
Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association
Follow me on facebook or twitter
Published by Marianne Overton. Hilltop Farm, Welbourn, Lincs LN5 0QH