Home   Stamford   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Pride of Stamford volunteers praised in readers letters for Stamford, Spalding, Grantham and Rutland

Our readers have shared their views on a variety of issues.

John Elson cartoon sponsored by the Assist Group
John Elson cartoon sponsored by the Assist Group

Tribute will bring visitors to special place

My goodness, Rutland is a special place! I want to thank everyone who streamed to the unveiling of the world’s first memorial statue of Queen Elizabeth on Sunday and all who made it possible. Our community spirit was very evident. We hosted both national and international press and I was so proud that Oakham looked stunning. Thank you to all the shops who decorated their windows, to Oakham in Bloom who made the town and area surrounding the statue look so good, to those who flew flags and put up bunting and to Oakham Town Council who draped bunting across the High Street. So many people entered into the spirit of the occasion. It was lovely to see children wearing crowns, people waving flags – and of course lots of dogs including the corgis who were visiting from across the whole country. The occasion and the statue were made possible by voluntary contributions – over 96% from individuals and businesses. I am grateful to them all.

We now have a stunning statue and an ‘Instagramable’ venue in the centre of our county town. The statue of Her Majesty – and her corgis – is very beautiful and the sculptor Hywel Pratley has created a remarkable image. We already have people from abroad making plans to visit. I hope that this Rutland tribute to Queen Elizabeth will bring visitors and prosperity to Oakham and to the wider county.

Rutland’s sense of community makes it the special place it is. Thanks to everyone.

Dr Sarah Furness

Lord Lieutenant of Rutland

Outcome was unprecedented

Thursday evening’s special council regarding Catmose Sports Centre, called due to the outcome of the normal Council meeting held on March 25 could be described as unprecedented: never in the history of Rutland County Council has there been a recommendation from Cabinet which Cabinet has then voted against.

This, in a political sense, is understandable: the current administration was very clear in the run – up to the May elections about their view regarding funding leisure provision in Oakham: ‘The Liberal Democrat group will fight against the poor decision to close Catmose Sports Centre’. To shoulder the responsibility for closure Politically awkward to say the least.

The Leader, in her speech during the Special Council meeting implied Cabinet had not realised how challenging balancing the books is. This is a reasonable position for new councillors to take, like any new job the detail only becomes apparent once in post; prospective candidates reliant on the briefings they receive from their group Leader. For the Leader to claim ignorance of the financial position of Rutland County Council is misleading. Indeed, the Leader, when in opposition, should be commended for her detailed questioning of annual budgets.

By saying one thing and then doing another suggests the Rutland Liberal Democrat group placed their thirst for power above being honest with the electorate. When the Leader took office in May 2023, her acceptance speech underscored her desire for transparency, a laudable aim that can only be believed through actions. It can be inferred from the 2024/25 budget presented by cabinet for public consultation in January, their position regarding leisure provision at Catmose was that it should be at net – nil cost to the council due to the omission of any explicit funding allocation.

That this decision was a hard one to take is an understatement: the choice between funding investment into flooding work and climate change management and funding a much-loved leisure centre which is so much more than exercise alone, rather the sense of community it brings is pointing out the obvious. The decision, due to the practicalities of contracts, had to be made.

The process of this decision, however, damages the fundamental principles of democracy: those who stand for election should uphold the values of honesty, integrity and transparency. The Liberal Democrat Group promised to protect Catmose Sports Centre, a position which was a relief to the residents impacted by closure, garnering considerable and understandable support at the ballot box. They have not delivered what they promised and that is a huge disservice to those they sought to represent. Residents have every right to trust their politicians, actions that contradict words, make this hard to do and so an integral part of democracy has been undermined.

Councillors Lucy Stephenson, Karen Payne, David Wilby, Giles Clifton, Matt Farina and Kiloran Heckels (Rutland County Council - Conservative Group)

Almost daily U-turns

It is becoming beyond disheartening to witness the almost daily policy U-turns and planning contradictions that seem to be at the heart of decision making at our district county level. Last week we saw Rutland County Council decide not to award a new contract for Catmose Leisure Centre. Sadly this means a much loved and needed public facility will close and jobs will be lost. This was a deeply controversial and highly unpopular decision and justified by Rutland’s commitment to prioritise funds for climate change and flood risk management. I am all favour of the latter pledge and understand its necessity but what will be hard to accept is if Rutland then go on to approve planning for Quarry Farm.

As we all know, Quarry Farm is a natural soak away for the town and surrounding villages as well as an important wildlife site and natural carbon sink. To approve Quarry Farm would undermine all Rutland’s commitments to the environment and make the decision to close Catmose in favour of climate priorities disingenuous. And as far as SKDC are concerned, they are just as complicit in the decision to prioritise a large-scale housing development over the protection of a much loved wildlife site, as the link rd through Quarry Farm provides the gateway for Stamford North. It is galling to read statements in SKDC’s draft local plan regarding commitments to ‘priority habitat’ when they are prepared to sacrifice just that on their very own doorstep.

The gap between the councils stated objectives and the lived experience of local people has never been so great.

Carys Vaughan


Protect Quarry Farm

Chance to speak to councillors

The monthly surgery for Oakham North West residents will be held in the Scout Hut on Grampian Way between 1.30 and 3.30pm.

No appointment is necessary

Surgeries are held on the first Friday of each month.

Steve McRobb and Ramsay Ross

Rutland County Council (Lab)

Which rules were obeyed?

Our MP, Gareth Davies, condemns Iran’s missile attack on Israel, but says not a word about the Israeli action that provoked the attack – the bombing of an Iranian consulate in Syria with the murder of two generals. By sending British armed forces into action on Israel’s side, our government is condoning Israel’s flagrant breaches of international law (invasion of Gaza, settlements on Palestinian land) and defiance of United Nations resolutions (continued occupation of Palestinian West Bank).

Mr Davies writes that Britain has “a duty to uphold the international rules-based order that previous generations fought to build”. I fought in the navy in the Second World War. Together with American, Russian, Chinese and other allies, we fought to defeat fascist aggression and occupation in Europe and Asia. And to establish a world of peaceful cooperation through the United Nations.

That hope was dashed by the determination of the USA to be the only superpower. And successive British governments’ acceptance of a very minor role as America’s agent. Perhaps Mr Davies will tell us which “rules” Israel was obeying when it killed 40,000 Palestinians in Gaza and wrecked the territory’s cities. Or which “rules” the USA and the UK were obeying when they invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.

David Grove


We need to park nearby

Once again, time and money debating vehicles in the precinct. There is no need for cones or bollards. On every entry, there are lawfully erected signs and failure to comply carries a substantial fine.

The trouble is these cannot be enforced, it is not a PCSO job and the police are already overworked.

Now, who on Earth, is sitting to discuss disabled drivers and passengers entering the precinct. We are not law breakers and have no wish to be disabled, it is just a fact of life and age. These badges are not issued willy nilly. Do you judge the medics who issue them? It is our legal right as a driver to enter these areas to be as near as possible to shops, etc, and also with disabled passengers. You are lucky if you are fit and well, do not judge those of us who are not.

D Daly


Tulips in Casterton Road. Photo: Amanda Hoskins
Tulips in Casterton Road. Photo: Amanda Hoskins

So lucky to have dedicated people

The tulips planted by Neil McIvor on Casterton Road in Stamford and they look amazing. They are stunning and there are literally hundreds! The time it took to plant these as well as acquire them! Awesome!! We also have a neighbour, Paul, who spent about 4 hours last Sunday cutting all the grass!! I asked him if he was part of Pride of Stamford and he said no, he just likes to make it look nice!

Aren’t we so lucky in Stamford to have such dedicated and kind people to make the town look so pretty?

Amanda Hoskins

Casterton Road, Stamford

Vote for your new parish council

At long last, Grantham is finally getting a parish council. The election is on Thursday (2 May). It is the same day as the election for the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). When you go to the polling station, you will get two different coloured ballot papers, one for the PCC and one for the parish council. Your polling card has the PCC election in big letters at the top, and the parish council election in smaller letters in the bottom left-hand corner, which is, arguably, not the best layout. The important thing is that you turn up at the polling station and vote.

A few years ago, SKDC Planning Committee looked at the proposed new development at the top of Somerby Hill, which was situated in Londonthorpe & Harrowby Without (LHW) parish, but also affected Grantham. There was a representative from LHW, quite rightly, but there was no-one there speaking on behalf of Grantham. My wife, District Councillor Charmaine Morgan spoke against it as a ward councillor, and I spoke against it as a private citizen, who was a resident of Grantham. But there was no Grantham voice in the room, because we had no parish council that could take a view.

When Grantham Hospital closed its A&E at night in 2016, SKDC opposed the downgrade. This was helpful, as it enabled a local resident to bring a Judicial Review (with help from those of us who were in SOS Grantham Hospital), and we won. When the A&E was downgraded to an Urgent Treatment Centre in 2022, the Conservative-run SKDC refused to support Charmaine's motion opposing it. This pulled the rug from under the campaign, as we could not then show a local body opposing the downgrade. If the parish council had existed then, it could have opposed it, and that would have given us something to go on.

So I would urge all Grantham citizens to vote on Thursday. Naturally, if you live in St Vincent's ward (basically South East Grantham), I would prefer it if you voted for Charmaine and me. But the important thing is whichever ward you live in, that as many people as possible use their right to vote, and we make our parish council, and our town, as successful as possible.

John Morgan

Democratic Independent, Grantham St Vincent's ward

This is how to improve services

Throughout the county of Lincolnshire many railway routes have closed. This is how I would improve services.

Two hourly direct service for all rather than one hourly direct services for just some. Skegness to Nottingham every two hours/Skegness to Peterborough every two hours/Lincoln to Peterborough every two hours.

The train driver would need to change ends at Sleaford station, no big issue because on services between Peterborough and Norwich the same thing happens on the platform at Ely following non use of the Ely avoiding line for many years.

The recent upgrade of the Lincoln to Peterborough route cut out overhead costs of crossing keepers and signal boxes saving lots of money in the future but from the view of a passenger, getting from A to B without having to change trains is very convenient while making use of your laptop or mobile phone and this encourages more use of the Lincolnshire rail network.

Trevor William Smith

King’s Lynn

Here is a heartfelt invitation

As a shipmate, I am reaching out to you on behalf of the Royal Naval Association (RNA) Spalding Branch with an exciting update and an invitation.

Firstly, I am pleased to inform you that the RNA Head Office has made a significant decision that affects all potential members: they have abolished the annual subscription fees. This change has led to a surge in membership, particularly among those associated with Royal Naval Training Establishments. However, despite this increase, I believe there is more work to be done at the grassroots level.

In my previous communications, I mentioned that my commitments as a district councillor prevented me from attending RNA Spalding Branch meetings. Now, with my political career concluded, I have resumed my attendance at these gatherings. During my recent interactions with our Chairman, Keith Crawford MBE, he expressed a common concern: the challenge of encouraging members to attend our monthly meetings.

Therefore, I am extending a heartfelt appeal to you today. If you have an interest in joining the RNA Spalding Branch or are already considering it, I urge you to take the next step and contact me. By doing so, you allow me to put your name forward for membership. However, my request comes with a simple but crucial condition: please commit to attending our monthly meetings.

Our meetings take place at the Spalding Constitutional Club on Double Street. It’s an informal gathering where we enjoy a couple of beers, engage in friendly conversation, and foster camaraderie. Additionally, we dedicate an hour to RNA branch business, discussing topics such as VE Day, VJ Day, D Day, Trafalgar Day, and more.

I genuinely believe that your participation in the RNA Spalding Branch meetings will not only enrich your social life but also contribute to the vibrancy of our association.

Your presence and active involvement would be greatly valued and appreciated.

So, if you can spare a couple of hours of your time on a social basis, I assure you that you will find it both enjoyable and rewarding. I eagerly await your response and the opportunity to welcome you aboard.

Rodney Grocock

Shipmate, RNA Spalding Branch

Sunday service

A Sunday service for Spalding would be great. It is much needed as the station is often packed on a Saturday. Let's hope the campaign works.

Ashley Grant

via email

Send your letters to: news@lincsonline.co.uk. Please include your name, address and contact telephone number.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More