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Council Round-Up: Cars, Parking and EMAS Horror Stories

November 14th 2012

The Remembrance Day Parade  

Councillors praised the Remembrance Day parade. Photo by Aidan Fletcher.

RAF cadets at the Remembrance Day Parade  

RAF cadets. Photo by Aidan Fletcher.

The Remembrance Day Parade  

RAF cadets on Remembrance Day. Photo by Rowan Hall.

The town council meeting on Tuesday 13th of November was all about the traffic: how to calm it, parking it without taking out a mortgage, and how to get the ambulances running on time. My brother Dan Jackson has spoken out about traffic safety in town, and he addressed the town council on this issue on October 10th. This time it was the turn of Aidan Fletcher, who spoke in the public forum about the junction between Queen Street and Aswell Street. "A high percentage of people fail to indicate," he said. "People with small children are almost being hit."

Councillor Laura Stephenson suggested a speed limit of 10mph in some of the more built up areas. Traffic is a sore point for her at the moment, since her cat Kismet was run over about a week ago by some thoughtless, stupid git of a boy racer who can't read the word "slow" without spelling out the letters and thinks mirror, signal, manoeuvre is a dating technique.*

Councillor Trevor Marris said "It's not just Louth, it's everywhere. Other towns sometimes put in a raised paved area to slow traffic down."

Councillor Andrew Leonard criticised "the unadopted taxi rank" at the bottom of Aswell Street. "It needs to be addressed because somebody is going to get knocked down."

"There's a lot of bad drivers in Louth," Councillor Fran Treanor stated. As a member of the police force he probably has more experience of this than most residents. "I think the worst junction is the bottom of Church Street."

Traffic issues are fairly uncontroversial, but the town council doesn't have an awful lot of say in what the highways authority does in Louth. "The trouble is, we're not listened to," Councillor Treanor lamented. However Councillor Leonard suggested the council send send a letter to Ian Mickleburgh, Highways officer at LCC.

Cattle Market Parking

A Mr Drury spoke next, on the subject of the Cattle Market car park which is due to move from free to paid parking. "Are ELDC going to upgrade it so it's a proper car park?" he asked. He took issue with the uneven, rough surfaces, which he characterised as a health and safety issue.

"There's been no statement about upgrading the Cattle Market," Councillor Brian Burnett informed the chamber.

Councillor Stephenson said "Louth wants the people from the villages to come in to shop. We're going to have to have parking availability for you."

However Mr Drury pointed out that it would cost his son 720 a year to park, even though he only works part time.

Horror Stories

The Mayor gave thanks for the Remembrance Service on Sunday. Councillor Margaret Ottaway echoed that sentiment, saying "I thought the public were fantastic."

The Mayor also congratulated Larders Coffee House, who scooped up the Best Newcomer award in this year's East Midlands Annual Food and Drink Awards. She also read out a letter from NHS Lincolnshire confirming that they are "totally committed to Louth hospital."

However the news is entirely less rosy when it comes to ambulances, in the run up to the EMAS review which will determine whether or not Louth gets to keep its ambulance station. The Mayor read out a letter from "a major employer in Louth", keeping back names to protect the patient's privacy. It detailed a complaint about an incident on 17th of October this year, when an employee fell and suffered a serious haemorrhage and concussion. The ambulance was called at 1pm, but a first responder didn't arrive until 2.20pm, a paramedic took a further 15 minutes to turn up, and it wasn't until just before 3pm that the ambulance arrived.

Unfortunately this wasn't an isolated incident, and councillors mentioned other times when sick people have faced unacceptable delays. "We do have a dire situation in Louth," the Mayor said, summing up.

"We need an ambulance station here," Councillor Stephenson said.

Councillor Burnett pointed out that the target response time for ambulances is eight minutes. "EMAS are coming nowhere near that," he said.

Councillor Marris agreed. "They are not acknowledging that they are not reaching these targets."

Councillor David Wing noted that the map of the proposed hub stations that EMAS published in their consultation document had three overlapping areas of coverage in the south of the county. This same consultation document was criticised by Councillor Ottaway, who said of the questions on the back of it "I wouldn't bother." The Mayor said "I think the questions are quite an insult."

This would be the same consultation document that hardly anyone in the area has seen. Being the Best is available if you know where to search for it online, but EMAS didn't bother mailing a copy out to everyone who will be affected by their plans (i.e., everyone).

Once again Councillor Burnett criticised the economics behind these plans, referring to the price of setting up news hubs and stopping points versus that of refurbishing existing stations. "These proposals have not been properly costed," he said. "It seems a false economy."

The council resolved to write to EMAS outlining their concerns. Meanwhile at least 1853 people have signed a petition opposing the planned closure of Louth ambulance station.

Planning

In terms of planning applications, a couple of significant developments are due to be decided at ELDC soon. One of these is thirteen houses off Quarry Road, although as Councillor Ottaway and others said, there's no actual access to them off Quarry Road and the way to reach them will in fact be via Upgate. The other big deal, a very big deal indeed, is the small village Taylor Wimpey are proposing to build off Fulmar Drive. This will go through the ELDC planning process on November 22nd December 13th at Tedder Hall. (It was rescheduled because so many people want to attend).

Opening the Floodgate

The Floodgate housing developers (that's the new estate near Riverhead that doesn't have a proper name yet) are being cheeky. Asked to come up with better names for the new streets, ideally based on ducks, they suggested Harlequin Close and Mandarin Close. Apparently Mandarin is both a kind of duck and a kind of orange, but it puts me in mind of petty bureaucrats, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who would make that association. Also, a street named after a fool or a Batman villainess?

The council opted to send it back to them, with suggestions of names like Teal or Mallard Close.

* I'm stereotyping. It might have been a girl racer. Or, let's be inclusive here, a transsexual racer.


 


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