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Council Round-Up: Vandalism, A Public Meeting, And Car Parking

June 5th 2013

vandalised bridge

The town council meeting of Tuesday, 4th June began politely, considering the outrage a lot of people must be feeling about the destruction that took place at Hubbard's Hills.

Vandalism and restorative justice

The bridge near the stepping stones was recently vandalised by drunken youths. Councillor Andrew Leonard, who is also one of the trustees of Hubbard's Hills, gave a report of the damage.

"It is pretty much beyond repair," he said of the bridge. "They wrenched the steel out of the concrete." He reported that the police caught the three lads, who can't be named because they are minors. Their punishment will include making a written apology to the local papers, paying a nominal amount towards the cost of a new bridge, cautions on their record, doing some community work, and being barred from Hubbard's Hills.

I hope the amount they pay isn't too nominal.

Councillor Eileen Ballard said "I understand where the police are coming from with restorative justice. But I'm not happy generally with the way police are dealing with things."

Public meeting

At the annual town meeting Councillor George Horton proposed holding a public meeting about the development plans for Legbourne Road. The council debated whether to do this, and if so when would be the best time for it.

"It's not a planning application yet," Councillor Brian Burnett pointed out.

"There is great concern over this development," Councillor Horton said.

Councillor James Pocklington said "We already supported that area of town as important for development."

Councillor Leonard said "It has to be initially led by us." He urged the council to be "proactive, rather than wait until it's too late."

Councillor Horton said "People voted for us to represent them, and the people do not want it."

In the end the council voted to hold a meeting, which will most likely take place in the Town Hall. It could be as soon as two or three weeks away. This meeting will help shape the future of Louth. I'll be posting details as soon as I get them, but keep an eye out and make sure you don't miss this event. It will be hugely important for the town.

Parking charges

ELDC's parking rate hike continues to cause dismay amongst councillors. "It's killing this town," Councillor Horton said. Councillor Sue Locking expressed her concerns about the future of the town's festivals, saying visitors will "come this year, but they won't come again" if the charging wasn't changed.

Councillor Leonard also reported being "inundated by people coming forward" about this issue.

Councillor Laura Stephenson mentioned an idea to derive revenue from car parks through solar panel schemes. The idea is to have solar panels installed as a canopy, with cars parking in the shade underneath. She had been in contact with four companies about this possibility. "We wouldn't get money from the solar panels, just the rent," she explained.

Councillor Burnett said "If everyone is saying the car parks are empty in the week, Church Street is jammed. East Lindsey is not getting the revenue from the car parks."

However the town clerk had a ray of hope to offer. She reported that the council had been contacted by other market towns in the district that are facing a similar situation. The town council voted in favour of co-ordinating with the councils of Alford and Horncastle in opposition to the parking charges.

Electoral review

The recent boundary commission review has resulted in a change to district council boundaries, resulting in a merging of wards. St James and Priory Wards will be combined with two members as Priory Ward, and St Mary's and St Michael's Wards will become St Mary's and St Michael's Ward, also with two members.

"I do not like two and three member wards," Councillor Burnett commented. "People don't know who to contact. It's very confusing. People need to know who their district councillor is."

However Councillor Stephenson had other concerns. "I am absolutely dismayed at the idea of this," she said. "Being a councillor is supposed to be open to everybody. It will make it impossible for someone who has a small amount of money to canvas."

Houses on the old pool site

There was an application for 29 houses on the site of the old swimming pool on Riverhead Road. This was approved by the town council, but it still has to go through ELDC. Part of this site was affected by the 2007 floods, but the plans will mean the houses will have higher floor levels to account for this.


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