As 2017 begins I would like to wish everyone, particularly people who live in Grange-de-Lings, Nettleham and Riseholme, the people that I represent on West Lindsey District Council, my very best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2017.
In January I had great pleasure in attending a gala dinner at Newark Showground with the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP. I even had opportunity to speak with him briefly and continue to press him to fund research in to SABRE hybrid-engine technology. I was also very pleased to invite the Chairman of Nettleham Parish Council and his consort, Terry and Kathleen Williams, to join us at the dinner. I did not anticipate that both would have stepped down from their respective posts by the summer. Towards the end of the month I completed a thousand mile round trip around the UK in 48 hours – Chairing a conference in Manchester, attending an Association Meeting of APSE in Edinburgh and then a flight down to London.
In the run up to May I was quite busy supporting Marc Jones’ election campaign to succeed Alan Hardwick as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire. As Treasurer of the Lincolnshire Area Conservative Party my main responsibilities revolved around fundraising. I was very pleased that Marc won the election, particularly as I had been critical of the previous campaign in 2012 and had pushed my own ideas – which proved fruitful.
Later that month I was thrilled to go to Buckingham Palace, at the invitation of the Queen, with my good friend Cllr. Mrs. Jackie Brockway, for a Garden Party. The afternoon began a little after half past two when guests were allowed into the Palace. Afternoon tea was served from half past three. The Yeomen of the Guard ‘hold ground’ and a two rows emerge across the lawn between the Palace’s West Terrace and the Royal Tea Tent by the lake. At four o’clock, prompt, the Queen and other members of the Royal Family emerge from the Palace to the National anthem and then make their way from the Palace to the Royal Tea Tent over the course of an hour with small groups of specially selected individuals being presented, usually from Charities and bodies to which the Royal is a patron.
There are two military bands that play music alternatively throughout the afternoon, including, on this occasion, at one point, the theme tune to Family Guy. Guests are able to walk freely around the garden which includes a lake, the broad stretches of lawn, a 170 metre long herbaceous border, a curved avenue on Indian chestnut (added by the Queen in 1961), the Admiralty Summer House, and a rose garden – at the centre of which is the Waterloo Vase, made from carrara marble, originally made for Nepoleon and given by King Edward VII in 1903.
I was very pleased to be offered the opportunity to continue my service as Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee by the Council’s Leader, Cllr. Jeff Summers and also to continue in the role as the administration’s Chief Whip. My colleagues also decided to elect me as the Group’s Treasurer. So I guess the old adage is true. If you want a job doing, find a busy person.
In March the Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan was formally presented to the district council for its formal adoption and later in the year in November so too was Riseholme’s Neighbourhood Plan. These documents form a vital set of criteria with which to judge planning application within the two parishes – and with the Beal Homes Appeal, in Nettleham and the University of Lincoln’s proposals at Riseholme lingering into the New Year these documents will play an important role.
I was delighted to welcome Rt. Hon. Priti Patel to Gainsborough in March with colleagues and officers for a tour of our joint public services hub at the Guildhall; many local authorities are working in partnership and following suite. I am confident that we will bring forward ambitions plans for a second stage of collaborative working in the near future.
The summer brought a significant upheaval to the cosy liberal-left orthodoxy that has prevailed in recent decades as, in the biggest democratic decision ever taken by the British peoples, we voted to leave the European Union. Whilst many were surprised at this result, I was not. What I did not expect was the whinging from the losing side, which is suffused with an unnecessary bitterness and contempt for their rivals. I also note that the Scottish government is attempting to remain in the EU, despite the historical precedent that when we last voted, in 1973, they voted to leave and nevertheless remained in with the rest of the UK.
The referendum led to the resignation of David Cameron as Prime Minister. I first met him in 2006 and we had become fairly well acquainted through our various meetings at Party events. I was saddened that he had taken the decision to step-down, however understandable under the circumstances.
In October I had the good fortune to have lunch with his successor the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, and we spoke briefly about Lincolnshire and her cabinet appointments.
Local government continues to face a tough financial settlement with central government and your local councillors are very much on the front-line. West Lindsey is well placed to adapt to the changes that reducing monies from central government will necessitate. But it means that we are having to make genuinely difficult choices about what services stay and what services have to go. I can well imagine that the time is fast approaching when we in West Lindsey will have to follow all the other parts of Lincolnshire in paying for our green wheelie bin garden waste collection. I do not envy colleagues who are less well placed, such as County Council colleagues who have a significantly more difficult task in balancing their budgets with pressures around adult social care and delivery of essential services. Locally our county councillor Jackie Brockway is a huge asset to us and I very much look forward to supporting her campaign for re-election in the coming year.
In 2017 I hope we can renew our commitment to make our communities better, putting aside partisan tendencies, and working with one another on the many things we agree upon. For each and all I offer my sincere wish for health, prosperity and happiness.
Giles McNeill – Working hard for the Nettleham Ward
Giles McNeill, the Conservative District Councillor who represents the Nettleham Ward, has joined local residents in welcoming news from Lincolnshire County Council that resurfacing work will begin on Deepdale Lane in early December.
Lincolnshire County Council will be carrying our essential carriageway maintenance works on Deepdale Lane, Nettleham from Wednesday, 7th December 2016. The works are expected to be completed within two days with work being undertaken during the daytime (7:30am – 5:00pm), commencing at the junction with the A46 moving down towards the Scothern Road junction.
Because of the nature of the works the road will be closed to through traffic, with a fully signed diversion route in place. Local access to properties will be maintained although residents might experience slight delays or need to take advantage of the diversion route. Gatemen will be in place at each end of the road closure. Cllr. McNeill commented:
“I am very grateful to our County Councillor Jackie Brockway, who I know has been championing getting the terrible stretch of highway repaired. Keeping Nettleham in the gaze of decision makers is an important role that Jackie does very well. She promised to have Deepdale Lane tackled by Highways by the end of the year and it looks like she will be keeping her promise. It is one of the issue that I often get in my post-bag and I am please that action is being taken.”
Cllr. Giles McNeill, the Conservative West Lindsey District Councillor for the Nettleham ward, that includes Risehome, has welcome news, announced by local parliamentarian Sir Edward Leigh, that the Government will commence legal action against the University of Lincoln.
The University of Lincoln has plans to demolish part of the Riseholme Park Campus and develop a housing. Sir Edward was speaking at the opening of Phase Two of the Riseholme College Showground Campus, he said:
“I can also reveal today that the Department for Education, through the Skills Funding Agency, is taking steps to commence legal proceedings against the University of Lincoln over its plans to demolish the Riseholme Park Campus and replace it with a housing development.
“This unprecedented step has been confirmed to me in writing by the Skills Minister Robert Halfon.
“The land and assets at Riseholme Park are protected by a legally binding Asset Deed and the SFA has said it will proceed with legal action to enforce the deed unless the University makes a satisfactory offer to settle the dispute.
“This is a hugely significant development and one which will hopefully protect the campus for future use by generations of Lincolnshire farmers and other workers.”
The Government is clear that the value of the land is protected by an Asset Deed which was effected when the land was originally transferred from the Lincolnshire College of Agriculture and Horticulture in 1994 to De Montfort University, who subsequently transferred to Lincoln University.
The University of Lincoln will be expected to make good its obligation by paying a sum for the value of the assets which they are no longer making available for the original purpose of further education. An asset deed can secure repayment for the value of the assets held or disposed of by the University, it cannot prevent the sale of the land by the university.
Cllr. Giles McNeill commented:
“I have been working hard with my Conservative colleagues, Jackie Brockway our County Councillor and Sir Edward on this issue. Today it is clear that the Government will uphold the Asset Deed on the site which is almost certainly going to force the University of Lincoln to reconsider their unpopular plans.
“I feel that the University of Lincoln continue to act in an imperious and arrogant manner. Their lack of respect for local people, or their elected representatives, endures. Universities should be places of learning, research and knowledge not an exercise in turning a profit. There persistent attitude calls into question their institution’s values.”
West Lindsey District Council has approved the Riseholme Neighbourhood plan at Full Council on Monday, 14th November, making it the fourth plan to be adopted in the district.
It means the Riseholme community can ensure planning applications are developed in line with what residents want as this is now taking into consideration as part of the planning process.
As previously reported, Riseholme Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, which is made up of residents, spent two years working together to carefully shape the document. They undertook a significant amount of public consultation before officially handing it over to the council in July.
A Neighbourhood Plan is a planning policy document, produced by a community, designed to enable local people to have a greater say in how their community develops in the future.
The Riseholme Neighbourhood Plan outlines policies for particular planning issues such as the location and type of future housing, protection of the surrounding environment, landscape character and the historic environment and seeks to enhance connectivity through improved and new public rights of way.
Cllr. Giles McNeill, who represents Riseholme and is a member of the Planning Committee, welcomed the news. He said:
“I’m tremendously pleased that colleagues voted unanimously to formally adopt the Riseholme neighbourhood development plan. The fact that these plans are made on a statutory basis, unlike any previous plan at a parish level, gives them the real bite. Lots of people from across the community has worked for over two years to deliver this plan their combined efforts are much appreciated.”
If you would like to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for your community, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A landlord, in the neighbouring Dunholme & Welton ward, at Newtoft, let a property with ‘extremely dangerous electrics’, no heating system and a leaking roof, a court heard.
West Lindsey District Council has successfully prosecuted Mr. Joe Burgess, of Newark Road, Lincoln, for failing to comply with housing regulations. The court heard the case in the absence of Mr. Burgess at Lincoln Magistrates Court on Wednesday 26th October.
Mr. Burgess made a property he owns in Newtoft available to a tenant, despite it being in a very poor state of repair. The property had extremely dangerous electrics, no heating system, excessive damp, a leaking roof and no fire detection.
West Lindsey District Council served notices on the landlord but after he failed to comply, the council incurred considerable costs making the property safe for occupation. Mr. Burgess was found guilty and fined £440, and ordered to pay £400 legal costs, £376 investigation costs and a victim surcharge of £44.
Cllr. Mrs. Sheila Bibb, Chairman of the council’s Prosperous Communities Committee said:
“This is the second successful prosecution we have undertaken this year and demonstrates the council’s commitment to tackling criminal and rogue landlords.
“We hope this case sends a clear message to landlords that we will use all of the powers available to us if they do not comply with our requests when we serve formal notices. Nobody should have to live in unsafe accommodation in the district.
“In this day and age there is no excuse for landlords who choose to ignore the law and we intend to continue to pursue them wherever their properties may be in our district. I would like to thank officers for their excellent work on this case.”
If any tenants have issues of disrepair within their property that are not being addressed by their landlord they can report these to the council using the online forms at www.west-lindsey.gov.uk.
West Lindsey District Council has been given a clean bill of health according to the annual audit into its financial accounts.
The audit was undertaken by the council’s independent external auditors KPMG, to assess the council on its financial statements for the 2015/2016 financial year, and they have given the best possible result, an unqualified opinion. The report states:
“In our opinion the financial statements give a true and fair view of the financial position of the authority as at 31 March 2016 and of the authority’s expenditure and income for the year then ended.”
The report concluded that the council achieved ‘unqualified value for money’. This means they are satisfied that the authority has proper arrangements for securing financial resilience and challenging how it secures economy, efficiency and effectiveness. The independent assessment has been welcomed by the chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee, Cllr. Giles McNeill who said:
“I am pleased to see that we have a received independent confirmation that the Council are managing its public finances well, continuing to support our communities.
“The council made £2.6 million available across the district to enable our communities to develop and thrive through 165 individual projects.
“In addition, almost 400 individual grants were awarded, totalling more than three quarters of a million pounds to support community based schemes. This in turn, brought in match funding in excess of eight hundred and fifty thousand pounds.
“Together with local communities and our partners we have been able to achieve a great deal.”
The Council has also worked to encourage volunteering across the district, resulting in almost 49,000 volunteer hours undertaken. This equates to over £500,000 of social value invested across the district.
Other success include:
- Trinity Arts Centre is receiving less financial support from council funds than it would if it was left This is due to an improved entertainment offer drawing larger audiences.
- Job Centre Plus and Citizens Advice moved in to the offices at the Guildhall to join existing tenants from Lincolnshire County Council. The creation of the Public Services Hub was designed to provide joined up, complementary services to customers. This method of joined up working has been recognised
- 11 Public access terminals have also been set up to enable customers to access services and information online.
- The council has one of the highest collection rates in the country for council tax 98.34% and 99.44% for Business Rates.
The Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership wants to hear local residents views on crime and anti-social behaviour, to help shape its action plans for the coming year.
The The Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership is a partnership including Lincolnshire County Council, the district councils, Lincolnshire Police, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, Probation, Addaction, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Police and Crime Commissioner to set priorities and target actions at a local level. Cllr. Giles McNeill said:
“Part of the The Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership’s work is to consult the public on how people feel about crime and anti-social behaviour in our area.
“This year a survey has been developed and rolled out across the county to gather views and opinions – and I would encourage local residents to take part.”
You can complete the survey by visiting the Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership website at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/lincolnshire-community-safety-partnership.
Paper copies of the survey are also available from the West Lindsey District Council office at the Guildhall in Gainsborough. The survey is open now and closes on Friday, 11th November 2016.
National Recycle Week begins on Monday, 12th September and to celebrate Conservative-led West Lindsey District Council is offering a free waste audit to local businesses.
To help local businesses play their part the Council’s officers are available to visit businesses, assess their needs and offer advice on how they could save money by recycling more of what they throw away.
The Council wants to help businesses save money by allowing them to recycle a wide range of materials, no matter where they are located in the district. They can sort the materials so businesses don’t have to and there is no need for a number of separate bins, so they also save space.
Conservative Councillor Mrs. Sheila Bibb, Chairman of the Council’s Prosperous Communities Committee, said:
“We pledge that our service will always be reliable, cost effective and provide the environmental benefits that customers demand.
“I’m proud to say that we are one of the only commercial waste operators in the area that can enable your business to become virtually zero landfill. All of your recyclable material is sent to specialist treatment facilities and made into new products. All other general and non-recyclable waste is sent to a Lincolnshire Energy from Waste plant (EfW) which powers local homes.
“We’re sure that by joining our recycling service, your business can save money and do its bit for the environment at the same time.”
The materials that can now be recycled through the Council’s commercial mixed recycling service are the same as those in the West Lindsey household collection service and includes:
- Cardboard and paper
- Glass bottles and jars
- Aluminium cans
- Steel tins (should be rinsed out)
- Plastic bottles
- Waxed juice or milk Cartons
West Lindsey’s Commercial Waste and Recycling Service can offer a business a range of collection options to suit their needs. Designed to be a friendly, local service it is reliable, flexible and will provide businesses with great value for money.
It has tailored so that businesses are in control of collections. Collections using bags are also available if space is a problem.
To make an appointment for a free waste audit or find about more about our Commercial Waste and Recycling Service, call 01427 675124 or visit www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/commercialwastesolutions
Riseholme residents spent two years working together to carefully shape a Neighbourhood Plan they are happy with.
After numerous open events, public meetings and consultations with stakeholders and landowners, Riseholme Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group have a plan suitable for their parish. The group officially handed the plan over to West Lindsey District Council to take it through to the next stage.
A Neighbourhood Plan is a planning policy document, produced by a community, designed to enable local people to have a greater say in how their community develops in the future. During the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan, the steering group undertook a significant level of public consultation.
Parish Councillor. Neil Foster, Chairman of the Parish Council and a member of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, explained the strategy was to be as ‘inclusive’ as possible, while engaging as many local residents during each stage of the process. This included open events, public meetings and engaging with local stakeholders and landowners. Mr. Foster said:
“Developing this plan is our way to have greater influence in shaping our community in the future. It has brought the community together in responding to planning issues.”
The Riseholme Neighbourhood Plan outlines policies for particular planning issues such as the location and type of future housing, protection of the surrounding environment, landscape character and the historic environment and seeks to enhance connectivity through improved and new public rights of way. Cllr. Steve England, Vice-Chairman of the council’s Prosperous Communities Committee, said:
“Neighbourhood Planning was introduced through the Localism Act in 2012 and is, in essence, part of the Government’s agenda in devolving powers to local people.
“It’s great to see people are using these new powers as there are now over 28 communities preparing Neighbourhood Plans in West Lindsey. The council remains committed in supporting local communities who are preparing plans.”
Mr. Luke Brown, Neighbourhood Planning Officer at the council works closely with communities to help them develop a plan. He said:
“Neighbourhood Planning is the first effective opportunity for local people to directly influence planning policy at a local level. Planning decisions can have significant impacts (both positive and negative) on local communities and this process allows local communities to have a greater say.”
West Lindsey District Council will organise an independent examination to make sure the plan conforms to relevant national and local planning policies and any necessary European Directives.
If successful through its examination, a public referendum will be organised.
Local residents within the Neighbourhood Area have an opportunity to vote whether they believe the Neighbourhood Plan should be adopted by West Lindsey District Council and form part of the local planning policy documents for the district.
If you would like to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for your community, please contact email@example.com
West Lindsey District Councillor for the Nettleham ward, Cllr. Giles McNeill, has described how proud he was to attend the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, 19th May 2016.
Cllr. McNeill attended the event with Cllr. Mrs. Jackie Brockway, district councillor for the Saxilby ward and Lincolnshire County Councillor for the Nettleham & Saxilby Division. Also in attendance was newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, Marc Jones and his wife, Rachel.
The afternoon began a little after half past two when guests were allowed into the Palace. Afternoon tea was served from half past three. The Yeomen of the Guard ‘hold ground’ and a two rows emerge across the lawn between the Palace’s West Terrace and the Royal Tea Tent by the lake. At four o’clock, promt, the Queen and other members of the Royal Family emerge from the Palace to the National anthem and then make their way from the Palace to the Royal Tea Tent over the course of an hour with small groups of specially selected individuals being presented, usually from Charities and bodies to which the Royal is a patron.
There are two military bands that play music alternatively throughout the afternoon, including, on this occasion, at one point, the theme tune to Family Guy. Guests are able to walk freely around the garden which includes a lake, the broad stretches of lawn, a 170 metre long herbaceous border, a curved avenue on Indian chestnut (added by the Queen in 1961), the Admiralty Summer House, and a rose garden – at the centre of which is the Waterloo Vase, made from carrara marble, originally made for Nepoleon and given by King Edward VII in 1903. Cllr. McNeill said:
“I have been very pleased to attend the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace today with Jackie. I am enormously proud to have been invited and thrilled to have been here. It is remarkable; you glimpse the Queen, as she walks through the garden, and suddenly you realised you’re here at her invitation and this is her event. It is a tremendous honour.”
The afternoon concludes at six o’clock, with the National Anthem, as guests depart.