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Town Council Round-Up: Widening Church Street, and Two Kinds of Stink

November 28th 2012

A saturated ditch  

This is actually a ditch, not a river.

Water on the road in North Cockerington  

Roads and fields were waterlogged after downpours on Sunday.

A cygnet on the canal  

A cygnet on the canal. Photo by Rowan Hall.

Do you ever get the feeling that the party only starts after you've gone home? Some of the comments about the Louth Area Committee meeting during the town council meeting the following night left me feeling like I'd missed a bit of a cage match.

First, in the public forum Jackie Featherstone delivered an update on the campaign to save Louth ambulance station. This will be coming to a head when the consultation ends on 17th December. I'm hoping to get permission to post an important letter about this, so I'll say no more on this topic in this update.

Announcements

Coppers on the Wall, the fundraising effort continued in memory of the late Mayor and PC Keith Sharp, raised 172.10 for Children in Need this year.

The Rotary Club are doing a Christmas tree collection on the 5th and 6th of January. They will be picking up trees and chipping them for a 4 charge, with the proceeds going to local charities.

The Mayor thanked the flood warden Darren Hobson for all the work he put in over the weekend. The pictures on the left were taken on Sunday afternoon, when Louth Canal and Waithe Beck came under flood alert. The Mayor also reported the lake at Hubbards Hills was very high and the ground was muddy and saturated.

The town hall

Andy Howlett of Louth Education and Community Interest Company gave a presentation to the town council about his group's takeover of the town hall. This was similar to the talk he gave at the area committee the day before, but this time he put more emphasis on their local goals. "We will only broker and support local firms if we can," he said. "The board consists of people who already work in the local community." Mr Howlett went on to explain that there will be differing charges for weddings for people who live in the local area, for instance.

Councillor Brian Burnett asked whether a structural survey had been done. Mr Howlett replied in the affirmative, going on to explain that the damp patches in the roof were found not to be structural damage, and overall the building is "in good nick for its age".

Councillor Eileen Ballard wanted to know whether their group would be adding to or taking away from other local groups.

"We're not going to step on anybody's toes at all," Mr Howlett said.

Once again Andy Howlett made a confident and encouraging presentation; it's refreshing to hear someone talk with such an air of optimism about the town's future.

Planning

Mr G. Allinson applied for permission to put up six town houses and two semi-detached houses at 72-78 Queen Street, which is the site of the derelict Allinson and Willcox print works on the corner of Church Street. The town council voted to recommend this for approval, with the provision that Church Street should be widened if it goes ahead. There was some debate over whether they wanted to make it a section 106 order or simply a requirement of the planning permission, but the intent was unambiguous: the town council want to see that section of road made safer. "You can't safely pass two cars," Councillor Andrew Leonard commented.

St Michael's C of E School on Monks' Dyke Road got approval for classroom extensions, a WC, and various other improvements and alterations to the school.

The planning decision on 149 homes near Fulmar Drive was deferred until 13th December at Tedder Hall, and the Mayor pointed out this will start at 10am.

A stink over the Area Committee?

Council members were invited to comment on the Louth Area Committee meeting of Monday night. Councillor George Horton had strong words, claiming that the meeting was conducted inappropriately. "It was a farce," he said.

Councillor Laura Stephenson spoke in defence of the meeting's voting procedure, which came under fire.

"The person who made the proposal should not have made it because he was not eligible to vote," Councillor Horton said.

I wasn't there at this point in the area committee meeting, so I got in touch with Councillor Sarah Dodds, who chaired the meeting, for comment. The bone of contention was something to do with a vote on the market. Councillor Dodds explained to me that a Corporate Support Officer had been present to ensure the meeting was conducted according to the proper procedures, and she did not say anything to indicate there was a problem during the meeting. "I make no apologies for letting the public speak first," she told me. "If something was wrong, Anne [the CSO] would have said it was wrong."

At stake was a proposal made by Councillor John Hough about setting up a sub-group for meeting and discussing the market. My take is, this is a storm in a teacup. I don't know why I'm even mentioning it, apart from my acute disappointment that no-one was actually caught throwing buns at each other.

An actual stink

By contrast, the smell on Legbourne road is real. "Things are not getting better," Councillor Ballard commented.

Some people who have complained of the smell have been given diaries to fill in, because it's not a constant smell.

"It comes and it goes," Councillor Fergus Robinson said. "Sometimes you never notice it."

More than one councillor criticised the lack of communication between East Lindsey and residents who are forced to put up with these smells.

"When will it end?" Councillor Chris Green asked. "We've been discussing this for months and months."

Councillor Fran Treanor said "I bombarded East Lindsey with emails. The smell is still there."

The parking wardens also came up for discussion, and Councillor Trevor Marris, who owns a carpet shop on Eastgate, had a lot to say on the matter. He explained his concerns that vans loading and unloading would only have five minutes to do so and were required to leave their back doors open. "I'm looking into it further," he said. "They are breaking a lot of health and safety regulations."

"Thank goodness at last we've got traffic wardens," Councillor Green said. "It's a new project, it needs to be given time."


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