Town Council Round-Up: Strategic Land Allocation, Parking, And Dog Fouling
January 22nd 2014At the town council meeting of 21st January there was a sense of deja vu, as the council went over some perennial topics that often seem to come back and never get settled.
In the public forum, Councillor David Hall brought up the subject of fracking. He quoted the figures from our poll of local residents, and contrasted it with David Cameron's statements about the popularity of fracking amongst Lincolnshire residents. "Where has he got his information from?" he asked.
"That information should be passed on to County Councillors," said Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders.
This is correct, because mineral extraction rights are decided at county council level. However, it's also something town councillors need to think about because they are often called on to consider wind turbine applications, which a few councillors seem to be opposed to. So it's worth considering how many people find this alternative energy source unpalatable.
Dog foulingJust when you thought it was safe to turn cartwheels in the park, something rather disgusting turns up again. Councillor Makinson-Sanders said "You can't see it in the dark. The town is turning into something dreadful."
"It is becoming a real eyesore and a nuisance," agreed Councillor Neil Ward.
Councillor George Horton recommended putting up more signs.
"There is no way of avoiding it if you are blind," Councillor Laura Stephenson said. She also warned about the dangers of dog fouling: "It can blind people."
There was some discussion about the lack of dedicated dog dirt bins, and where dog dirt may be deposited. "All bins are multi-purpose now," Councillor Makinson-Sanders said. "You can put it in any.
"There is only one dog warden," said Councillor Brian Burnett. "It does seem to be one or two dog owners. The only cure is for one person to get fined."
The town council will be writing to ELDC to highlight the issue.
Strategic Land Allocation And ResourcesThe town council have been working on a plan for allocating land for development around Louth, known as the Strategic Land Allocation and Resources (SLAR). This is likely to be a big deal for anyone living on the outskirts of town, because it will determine which areas will be favoured and which can remain greenfield. A draft image was on show at the Sessions House, but I'm not sharing it because ELDC have yet to finalise it, not to mention my picture wasn't very clear.
"We went through all the allocation in detail," said Councillor Andrew Leonard. "There is going to be a massive impact in Louth."
"Louth is far more vulnerable to far more housing development than previously thought," Councillor Brian Burnett said. "The population of this town could increase quite rapidly."
However, Councillor Pauline Watson was not convinced that planning permissions would inevitably lead to developments. "There has got to be a demand. It's not imminent."
Councillor Stephenson warned that if the housing developments that were granted permission it could lead to further problems, such as the council having to approve others on less suitable greenfield sites.
The Mayor, David Wing, took another view. "I could well see the houses going up on Fulmar Drive. And quickly."
"We are fighting battles for the people of Louth," said Councillor Makinson-Sanders. "I think the government policy is rather bizarre."
Parking enforcementThis is another topic that's been discussed before, but this time the council was going over its responses to a consultation. Firstly, they considered whether local enforcement was applied fairly and reasonably. Councillor Watson had this to say: "I don't think it is fair and reasonable because it's only done on some days."
"We would appreciate more attention when people weren't expecting it," Councillor Stephenson suggested.
Councillor Makinson-Sanders was critical of blue badge holders, or rather fake blue badge holders. "I get tons of complaints," she said. "The blue badge holders are really getting away with blue murder." She had further criticism for the suggestion that individuals had a responsibility to report offences. "They are being paid to do a job. It is not up to us to keep dobbing people in."
The council was also in favour of giving drivers a five-minute grace period at the end of their parking, but they were against giving people a discount for prompt payment following the loss of an appeal over ticketing.
Rate reliefThe Thirteen Plus Project based at Louth Youth Centre on Park Avenue made an application for discretionary rate relief. Unsurprisingly, the town council were happy to agree to this.
MarketsOn Tuesday, 28th January there will be a meeting concerning the livestock market, but it's a closed one. The Mayor mentioned that new information will be presented. The council discussed how they would react to this, which seemed a bit pointless since they didn't yet know what they would be reacting to. No battle plan survives contact with the enemy, as Helmuth von Moltke apparently said.
The town centre markets were also discussed briefly. The portfolio holder, Councillor Newton, remains too ill to carry out his duties and meet the town council. Instead the council opted to invite Mark Humphries and Councillor Doreen Stephenson to attend a meeting to sort out any problems with the markets. Let's hope they can fix them, so we can move on to all new problems.
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