Town Council Round-Up: Will ELDC Rush To Sell The Cattle Market?
October 16th 2013
The Cattle Market
Car parkingThe public forum was dominated by talk of parking enforcement, and Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders spoke at length about this, criticising the new regime. "One shop in Eastgate has lost 25% of its business," she said. "The shops have to be allowed to function. We don't really have traffic problems in Louth."
Councillor Laura Stephenson pointed out that a lot of the tickets issued by parking officers had been taken back. However, she did agree that the current system was "just silly".
Jackie Featherstone mentioned an incident when she took a photo of someone parking illegally and showed it to one of the green-jacketed enforcement officers, who told her he couldn't do anything about the incident since he hadn't personally seen it.
Some people expressed unease about the parking wardens going round with cameras. The Mayor, David Wing, said "They have to photo the car with the ticket attached so there's no argument about whether the ticket was given."
"I do not condone people parking on double yellow lines," Councillor Makinson-Sanders clarified.
GrantsThe town council is able to give out discretionary grants, and the deadline for sending in completed grant application forms is Friday, 22nd November. After these are agreed on by the council they will be presented on the 17th December.
The council also voted to provide discretionary rate relief for Louth Living Well, which has premises in Queen Street and on Eastfield Road. The charity provides cheap recycled furniture to families in need. This was an uncontroversial move for the council, and nobody argued against giving the charity this relief.
BusesThere's a Bus Round Table meeting on 21st October, so councillors debated what to do about the current route situation, since buses have been re-routed away from Mercer Row and the town centre, and up Church Street.
"If they want to bring the buses back down Mercer Row it will cause a bottleneck," Councillor George Horton said.
Councillor Pauline Watson also spoke out against the old route through town. "The bus drivers were not prepared to suffer it again. Big buses running through town are quite damaging."
There was also some discussion about cars that park on either side of the road. When it came to a vote the council came out very narrowly in favour of the status quo, with 8 votes to 7 against.
I have a feeling this problem won't go away, because Louth streets weren't laid out with large vehicles in mind, and many of the buildings in Queen Street, Mercer Row and Church street are quite old, so the vibrations from heavy traffic are particularly difficult for them to deal with.
Louth Livestock MarketRecently ELDC announced it will invite bids for the Louth Cattle Market from developers and other interested parties. At this point the district council haven't definitely said they will sell it, but this is the first step towards that.
Councillor Andrew Leonard spoke about the town council's petition to get ELDC to fully consider the views of Louth residents. "The petition will become part of the scrutiny review," he said. He was also scathing about the recent report ELDC commissioned from Chase and Partners, saying: "The district council has successfully wasted £30,000 of ratepayer's money on what was a foregone conclusion."
Councillor Watson was critical of the way the council's petition was presented, and she questioned why it wasn't presented during the "petitions" agenda item.
Councillor Brian Burnett agreed with Councillor Watson that the petition should have been presented then in order to have the fullest impact. "A supermarket of 40,000 square feet ... will kill Louth," he said. He went on to compare the Chase and Partners report to the 2012 Nathaniel Lichfield one, saying "this report is going even further. The executive board [of ELDC] are looking for capital receipts."
Councillor Leonard talked of his concerns that ELDC would refuse the application for an Aldi on Newbridge Hill on the basis that it was out of town, which he described as "a delaying tactic".
Councillor Makinson-Sanders was also critical of the idea that the Aldi site was out of town. Bringing the discussion back to the livestock market, she warned that "sheep farming may die out if we don't have a cattle market. Our assets are being sold down the river."
Councillor Stephenson suggested forming a working group to aid alternative plans, something that Councillor Chris Green agreed with.
However, Councillor Leonard was pessimistic about the site's future. "East Lindsey are determined to sell it," he said.
The reason Aldi matters is there's a consensus that if a store of that size is built, it will decrease the value of the Cattle Market for supermarket developers. So the sooner an Aldi is built, the safer the Cattle Market will be, in theory.
I should point out that when this discussion took place, the Aldi application hadn't yet been voted on by the town or the district councils. Later on in the meeting, after I left, Aldi's application did come up for discussion, but the town council voted to defer a decision. I don't understand why they would do this, when the sooner work starts on an Aldi, the better. Besides its potential impact on the Cattle Market site, a discount store is something that people in the north of town have been asking for since at least 2011.
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