Sunrise on 2017
Deciding what success looks like and what we want out of our work or out of life itself is the foundation of our New Year Resolutions. Shall we wait for good things to happen or give them a little help? Life never turns out as we expect, but it is surprising how many objectives are achieved, albeit not always in the way intended. Often a closed door opens a new one and the important point is to make the best of life.
So Brexit, Trump and a new Prime minister brings change and opportunity. Nationally and locally, I am working on getting the best for Lincolnshire and for Britain as we leave the EU 1973-2019. Another door was revealed recently in the form of the Council of the European Municipalities and Regions where all 42 countries of European Local Government have been working solidly together since 1951! This is joint working body well established outside the EU, but not legally binding.
Some countries have many referenda and compulsory voting, but tackling six by-elections across the County and the PCC elections in one year has been a tough call. Thank you for sticking with it! We won four and held our own well, even faced with a deluge of national marketing. Your heart-warming support and our solid ground support has been brilliant, thank you.
The next elections will be on May 4th for the County Councillors, based on new boundaries. (www.lgbce.org.uk click East Midlands on the map and Lincolnshire) Many excellent Lincolnshire Independents are standing, determined to stand up for residents.
Our big issue this year will be battling to get and protect local services, especially in health and care. There is much we can do locally and making plans for that will be key to the success of our villages. Already Welbourn and Dunston have theirs in place, with others hot on their heels.
I am very pleased we have the Local Plan almost through the process with good protection for the character of small and medium villages. I spoke at the Inquiry, pointing out that the estimated numbers of overall housing “need” is way too high, with no hope of matching services or facilities. My intervention countered the developers who were seeking still more and helped protect our towns and villages from now on, at least. However, the plan is likely to remain at around 37,000 dwellings by 2036, with no phasing, driven by the political parties locally and nationally. There will be one more consultation on the proposed changes.
Loss of local services such as the Leadenham recycling site and Grantham A and E overnight is likely to be a continuing trend. We pay our income tax just the same, yet much less of the money is sent back for local spend, none by 2020. This government is allowing local public services to wither, so we will need to rethink. We will need to work up proposals and speak up very clearly when we need local services and support – and that is what we are good at!
Looking back over the year, some of my best moments have been with friends and family at local events. A huge thank you for all you do in organising so many great and varied happenings that add much to the quality of life in Lincolnshire. For regular activities and big events, from the Queens 90th birthday celebrations to Christmas late-night shopping in Navenby, thank you!
A summary year in pictures and monthly reports are at: www.lincolnshireindependents.org.uk
Wishing you all you good health, happiness and success in 2017!
Marianne Overton MBE
Leader of the Lincolnshire Independents