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Town Council Round-Up: Hospital Cuts, Bus Services, And Fury

July 16th 2014

Andrew Leonard

The Mayor at a recent civic engagement

The town council meeting of Tuesday, 15th July was a heated affair. The cattle market is proving a cause of serious friction, as it so often has done in the lead-up to major decisions about its future.

In the public forum Councillor Margaret Ottaway paid tribute to Kathleen Hamilton, who recently passed away aged 89. "She made a huge commitment to this community, and she was an example to many of the people of Louth."

Jason Garrett then spoke about recent remarks the Mayor, Councillor Andrew Leonard, made about Councillor Adam Grist. The Mayor had spoken out against Councillor Grist's assertion that the cattle market was losing 70,000 a year.

"You criticised Adam Grist," Mr Garrett said. "Councillor Grist has only attended two meetings."

Mr Garrett also denied that Councillor Grist was a member of Move Louth Forward. However, he did condemn the town council's "clear allegiance to KLS." Speaking of the idea of having a supermarket on the cattle market site, he said "the need for this development is clear."

Councillor Brian Burnett described the Mayor's criticism of Councillor Grist's figures as "quite valid."

The Mayor asked: "If the figure can't be substantiated, why was it given out?"

In a public meeting organised by MLF in April, Alan Grantham mentioned the figure of 70,000.

"We are not members of KLS," Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders said.

Mayoral engagements

The Mayor read off a long list of civic ceremonies and other mayoral engagements he'd attended recently, including the Getaway Awards at Riverhead theatre, Vintage Day, A Louth Old Boys 5-a-side tournament, opening the Food Festival, and a laundry list of other duties.

The Town Clerk Linda Blankley reported another unqualified audit. Unqualified means there's no problems with it. She also reported that the town will be judged for Louth In Bloom on Thursday, 17th July.

Councillor Sue Locking paid tribute to Councillor Makinson-Sanders for her "superb effort" on the In Bloom project.

The Clerk also mentioned that the town had been awarded funding for work in the cemetery on creating a wildflower meadow, which will be spent on seeds for the community payback team to plant.

Speed trouble

A resident wrote to the council to request speed monitoring for Legbourne Road, at the part leading out towards the roundabout.

"This road frequently gets flooded and that makes it more dangerous," Councillor Makinson-Sanders said.

Councillor George Horton suggested a sign that informs drivers how fast they're going. "I think that will make people aware that there are speed restrictions in that area," he said.

The council resolved to apply to county councillors for help.

Hospital drama

Skegness town council has expressed concerns in a letter to LTC about proposed cuts to Accident and Emergency services at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston. The United Lincolnshire Health Trust wants to move Boston's A&E to Lincoln, as well as its maternity unit. This would leave Skegness residents without cover, and they would be faced with a journey of at least an hour to the nearest hospital for these services.

"We should support Skegness town council," Councillor Brian Burnett said.

"I am very much against this closure," Councillor Laura Stephenson agreed.

Councillor Roger Featherstone said the move would put "more pressure on Lincoln or Grimsby. That will affect us indirectly."

"People from this area do use Boston, and it does affect them," Councillor Neil Ward said.

"If Skegness is looking at losing their A&E it's going to be horrendous," Councillor Horton said. "We've got to support them for residents of Louth who go there in the holidays." He cited the large seasonal increase in population that Skegness experiences every summer.

The council voted to send a letter of support to Skegness.

Buses

A South Reston resident wrote to the council with a number of complaints about buses, sparking off a discussion of problems with local transport.

"We don't have a Sunday service," Councillor Stephenson said. "We need to give people the ability to travel."

Councillor Ottaway described the scene at Louth bus station when she visited it recently as "absolute mayhem."

"It is very sad," Councillor Makinson-Sanders said of the bus station. "It's yet another district council property that isn't being repaired properly."

Councillor Neil Ward agreed, saying: "The state of the station is parlous."

The council voted to refer the matter of late buses and Sunday services to the Bus Round Table. They also voted to refer the problem of the bus station's disrepair to ELDC.

In my view, buses have been neglected for too long in Lincolnshire. There isn't a lot the town council can do about them, but higher tiers of local government need to stop assuming that everyone is a driver and make public transport more welcoming and more widely available. Other councils do a far better job at this than Lincolnshire does.

A letter causes a stir

Yet another aspect of the cattle market came under discussion, this time the content of a letter sent out by LTC to East Lindsey's district councillors. Councillor Stephenson criticised the wording, which she saw as one-sided because it offers facts in support of keeping the cattle market where it is, but nothing from the other side of the argument. "I am making sure this town council represents this town," she said. "Every member."

It's fair to say that went down like a fart in a perfume factory. I thought the tone certain other councillors took in response to Councillor Stephenson's remarks was disappointing.

Flood attenuation

The Environment Agency are due to meet the town council to update them on the River Lud Attenuation Scheme.

"This is a really good scheme and we should be supporting this," Councillor Makinson-Sanders said.

On the 21st July there will be a meeting about the cattle market at the Sessions House at 6.30pm. On 23rd of July the sale of the cattle market is due to be discussed in full council at ELDC.



 


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