Council Round-Up: The Malt Kiln, Planning, And Tweeting
July 3rd 2013
The town council met on Tuesday, 2nd July to discuss a varied agenda. As sometimes happens, the really vital issues, in this case the library service cuts, were discussed after I left.
MottoLouth Town Council has a motto, "Deo adjuvante non timendum", which means "with God's assistance there is nothing to fear". This came up when the Mayor, David Wing, mentioned that he'd visited The Firs as part of Open Care Day, and someone had asked him about the motto, and at the time he hadn't known what it meant. I'm not sure what use it is having a motto, except as a piece of trivia to use in a pub quiz.
Aldi and the Malt KilnThere has been news that Aldi want to knock down the Malt Kiln and build a small supermarket in its place. Councillor Roger Featherstone pointed out that the council has not yet received any planning applications with regard to the Malt Kiln.
"If it did happen it would be an excellent addition to Louth," said Councillor Andrew Leonard.
In my view this is perhaps one of the best locations for a supermarket in Louth. Since it would mean getting rid of a derelict industrial eyesore, almost anything you put there would be an improvement, unless it was another malt kiln, or maybe a detention camp for antisocial nocturnal yodellers.
Planning decisionsThis meeting's planning decisions were relatively minor in scope. The town council objected to Lloyd's Banking Group's application to put up a couple of internally illuminated signs at 24, Mercer Row. This was on the grounds that it wouldn't be in keeping with a conservation area.
However the council approved Louth County Hospital's plans for four extensions to its buildings. "It will improve services to Louth residents," Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders said.
The change of use of a bridal shop to a tattoo parlour on Aswell Street also gained approval, as did King Edward VI Grammar School's application for a new teaching and dining block.
TweetsLive tweeting meetings and events is Louth Leader reporter Sam Kinnaird's speciality. Personally I don't have the right kind of phone or the multi-tasking dexterity to do that, but he does it pretty well, for example with his live commentary on the England vs. Pakistan cricket match at London Road. So, the minimum six months after his last application was refused, he put in a request for the town council to reconsider their decision to ban tweeting.
Councillors aren't usually allowed to use mobile phones during the meetings because it can be distracting. However there was some lively discussion about whether tweeting should be allowed in the chamber.
"Move with the times," Councillor Gus Robertson urged the council.
Councillor Laura Stephenson has reversed her position on tweeting since the last vote, this time taking into account that it already happens at LCC and ELDC. "I don't think it's going to disturb anybody."
However a lot of debate revolved around the possibility of people making mistakes and getting into legal hot water. "Whoever does tweeting must be extremely careful," Councillor Sue Locking warned.
"While you're doing your tweeting you might miss something very important," the Mayor pointed out.
Councillor Neil Ward pointed out that live tweeting might encourage them to "engage the brain before we talk." He was one of the few members who had spoken in favour of allowing tweets the last time the topic had come up.
Councillor Leonard reminded people of Sally Bercow's expensive legal problems with tweeting. "With tweeting it's instant, there's no retraction. It can cost a lot of money if he gets it wrong."
In the end the council voted narrowly against allowing tweeting in meetings, by 7 votes to 9. In my view, the arguments put across weren't a sufficiently good reason to block the free flow of information to the public. People are responsible for their own words, and for how carefully they listen to what is said, whether they are tweeting, typing, or recording the event on vellum scrolls.
Wolds CollectiveThe Wolds Collective made a request for financial assistance for the Small World Festival in August 2013, to help pay for a first aid tent. Councillor Stephenson said "The medical tent is important. People tend to overindulge and fall over." She also emphasised how many young people attend this event. "It's absolutely imperative that we support this."
Councillor Trevor Marris said "It should come under the grant system." Whereas Councillor Eileen Ballard said "It's too easy to ask for money these days."
Councillor Leonard described the bid as "outside our remit in more than one way." In the end the council voted not to grant money to the Wolds Collective.
The council also declined to give permission for a local resident to take prints of the Brown's Panorama for personal use.
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