Town Council Round-Up: Town Partnership, Housing Fund, And Fulmar Drive
March 5th 2015
First, in the public forum Mr Smith raised the issue of speeding traffic in the area around St Bernard's Avenue, which he described as "a great danger". He called for traffic calming measures, and also expressed concerns about the amount of parking on the footpath.
There was some discussion about county council policy on parking on the pavements. "Speeding traffic is all through the town," Councillor Margaret Ottaway commented.
The Highways authority seem to set a fairly high bar in terms of whether or not they will take action aimed at reducing road deaths. The town council raised this issue in October 2014, resolving to write to LCC about St Bernard's Avenue. Results of speed checks on Legbourne Road and Kenwick Road resulted in a decision not to introduce speed camera enforcement.
The Chamber of BusinessNeil Sharpley gave an update on the status of local business organisations. In the past the Louth Chamber of Business had "mothballed itself before the town partnership was formed", he said, but he explained that it has since reformed. "That will continue to look at the broad business agenda across from retailers through to manufacturing, through to services." He explained that Gary Dennis had formed Louth Independent Traders for retailers, saying: "Their main thrust is to try and preserve the market-based events that the Town Partnership ran."
Mr Sharpley suggested that the Chamber's strategy could be to market the Wolds. "That's going to be one of our thrusts. But we've not forgotten that one of our prime aims is to review the parking provision in Louth, and what we want to do is approach that in a scientific way. It's no good doing the same old thing and creating a lot of heat and not much light, so we're hoping to get expert advice. We're doing research on the current provision."
I look forward to those results, with the caveat that it's always important to look at who is sponsoring any studies when considering their conclusions.
The Conoco roomCouncillor Eileen Ballard spoke of success with regard to the Conoco Room, having reported its financial difficulties to the town council on January 21st. After a meeting with Councillors John Hough and Sarah Dodds, Councillor Ballard heard that LCC are going to give £2323 to the group that run the room. Prices will nevertheless rise for the room's rent from April. "There's future for the Conoco Room", Councillor Ballard said.
Swimming pool receiptsCouncillor Jill Makinson-Sanders questioned figures from the sale of the site of the old swimming pool on Victoria Road. "The sale of the swimming pool brought in £350,000." The sale proceeds were to be split between Louth and the lorry park. She went on to detail figures about the split of proceeds, and she said she couldn't "find any proper information about" a sum of £44, 353, saying: "I don't think the maintenance of that site... could possibly come to that. So I don't know where this money has disappeared to."
Councillor Makinson-Sanders said she was "really concerned about this accounting oversight."
"I am so surprised to listen to these low figures when you consider that land was sold with planning permission," Councillor David Wing said. "The whole thing seems undersold."
The town partnershipCouncillor Craig Leyland made a presentation about the town partnership programme, beginning with some of its history. "There was a fixed funding period of four years," he said. "and I made it very clear that that funding was finite." He went on to say that they found an extra two years of funding, on condition of a review period after a year. He pointed out that Louth Town Partnership (LTP) still exists.
LTP lost its funding at the end of December, when its office near the New Market Hall closed and its two members of staff were laid off.
Councillor Leyland spoke of a meeting with LTP board members, Mr Gale and Mr Foreman. Councillor Leyland said: "The meeting we had made very clear that the targets and issues we raised with the Town Partnership weren't being met, and in all justification we couldn't proceed with the funding as it stood. It was just not a good use of public money. Concurrent with that was the information as well that Mr Gale and Mr Foreman were resigning."
Councillor Leyland has met with Gary Dennis of Louth Independent Traders. He said ELDC had offered them "gentle support" for their first two or three events. He proposed having a peripatetic manager to deal with promotion and marketing across the district, as well as a budget for events to be awarded on a "case by case basis."
MarketsCouncillor Ottaway raised the issue of markets and parking charges.
"The issue of the markets in relation to Spilsby, Horncastle, and Louth is that Louth is the most successful market out of those three, and in effect subsidises the other two," Councillor Leyland said. He described the parking issue as "controversial" but declined to make any further comments on it.
"You seem to think the town partnership is only about events and that is far from the case," Councillor Makinson-Sanders said. "I think Louth has been cheated because the message doesn't seem to have got over to Manby how successful the Partnership has been."
"You're talking as if everything has fallen flat on its face, and it hasn't," Councillor Leyland told the town council.
Councillor Laura Stephenson criticised ELDC's communication about the funding withdrawal, saying: "I found out through the newspaper. So communication has failed."
Some councillors made reference to personalities, which they then declined to discuss in public. And whilst there may have been good reasons for this, it felt to me, an outsider to the partnership, like I was listening to half a conversation.
Housing fundLarkfleet Homes want to build 107 homes on land off Kenwick Road, and they have a fund of £500 per "open market" house, so they have applied to talk to the town council about it. No payment is made on affordable homes.
The town council was against this development, but ELDC granted it outline planning permission in January.
Fulmar DriveThe development off Fulmar Drive came back for consideration. This time it was the detailed plans, because the planning inspectorate granted outline planning permission to the developers after an appeal.
There's no particular issue with the design of the buildings, but the access is extremely poor," the Mayor, Andrew Leonard, said. "So we would not recommend this for approval."
"When this application came before us there was a very, very large report on the roads and there were fatalities detailed in that report," Councillor Sue Locking said.
"There's no flood risk assessment with this application," Councillor James Pocklington said. "There is an issue with water off this site."
"There is historical flooding in this area," Councillor David Hall said. He suggested putting in attenuation tanks.
"It's not the flood risk on the actual land," Councillor Pocklington said. "What's going to happen is that all the water that was just soaking into the land is go down the drains."
The council opted to object to this development on the basis of flood risk, design, and access.
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