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Readers in Stamford, Bourne, Spalding and Grantham in Lincolnshire write on a variety of issues

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

Two decades of woe

With reference to this article: Abandoned home causes decade of woe. As the owner of a property adjacent to this abandoned house I wish to fully support Michelle Wills and the issues she has continuously raised with SKDC about the abandoned property in Conduit Road particularly with reference to break-ins, infestations and damage to adjacent properties.

I should point out that it is not a “decade” of woe but more than two decades that this property has been abandoned and causing problems for residents in the area. Like Michelle we have also raised our concerns on several occasions with SKDC, without success, or even responses to our many contacts with the Council. On the latest occasion in August 2023 promises were made about responding “shortly” but yet again a “deafening silence”. I have also raised the matter with our district councillor (Gloria Johnson) who promised to forward our concerns to the head of housing however again no response, despite several reminders.

Readers write letters in
Readers write letters in

SKDC state that managing empty properties is both a national and local priority and according to their website have both an Empty Homes Strategy and an Empty Homes Working Group. However despite asking for information, both through SKDC complaints process and a Freedom of Information Enquiry, about what action the Council have taken, or intend to take (in accordance with their strategy) there is again no reply from the Council. I can only assume they have done nothing.

After 20 years of this property being abandoned, and multiple minor interventions from SKDC, it is clear that encouraging the owner to voluntarily bring this property into use has failed. In their policy the Council state they “ do not want to tolerate long term empty homes when there is an unmet demand for housing, nor does it want to tolerate the impact that problematic empty homes have on the community”. Well this property has been empty and deteriorating for more than 20 years and is a problem for the community. So it is surely time for SKDC to act in accordance with their own policy and use the legal powers that are available to them to bring this property back into use, provide a home for a local family and stop it causing problems for adjacent homeowners.

My final point is that it is very disappointing and disrespectful that no-one in the housing department, including the head of housing, is prepared to respond to concerned home-owners in Conduit Road. If they are unable to respond to us directly then perhaps they would prefer to respond via your newspaper?

R Smith

By email

Where can batteries be recycled?

With reference to the article in the Mercury about the bin lorry fire, the question is : where can I dispose of my old batteries in town?

John Elson's cartoon is sponsored by the Assist Group
John Elson's cartoon is sponsored by the Assist Group

I collected some new hearing aid batteries and offered my old ones for recycling, on which the lady receptionist said they do not take them, try in the town shops. Could not find any “drop off” bins anywhere. I used to take my old batteries to Wilko’s but for obvious reasons that is not possible anymore.

On another town visit, at store check-out was asked if I needed any batteries? “No, not at the moment. Have you a drop-off box anywhere?” “We had one but had to remove it because no one would collect the full bin” was the reply. It seems my only option is a trip to Bourne Recycling Centre!

With many households with old Christmas light batteries and nowhere to recycle I’m sure some are going to end up in the black bin and another refuse lorry fire.

Trevor Wissen

Braemar Close, Stamford

We fall short compared to our cousins

My wife and I have just returned from a trip to Brisbane. Among the many attractions of this beautiful Australian city, we were particularly impressed by the widespread and excellent provision of public amenities, in sharp contrast to the woeful situation here in the UK, Stamford being no exception. Every park and open public area - and there are many - is equipped with a public toilet and wash basins (handwash usually provided), and not a sign of graffiti or vandalism anywhere. And what a pleasure to drive along roads and highways completely unblighted by litter on their verges and central reservations. How is it that we fall so far short of our antipodean cousins in these basic regards?

Adrian Gombault


A new take on the Mallard Pass project

In researching recently into solar panels I came across the following information. I recognise that the date for observations /complaints and suggestions is over but the enclosed findings reveal that there are still different routes to take into account which could have major implications and which have not been disclosed to local eyes. This is the option, to use the land below the solar panels as useful for livestock or low plant cultivation known as Agrivoltaics and is widespread in the USA.

Looking at the "First Stage Consultation paper" there is no mention of this alternative. Why not? It is inconceivable that the developers knew nothing of it. From their point of view profit is king and to raise the solar panels and /or /as well as to space them out at all, has huge financial implications.

Extra cost by spacing and raising would at least enable easy regular maintenance such as checking out each panels efficiency and cleaning but would allow the growing of crops and the grazing of small animals e.g. sheep.

To investigate this further we need also to know the quality of the land according to the governments category list A B C etc. This so far, has never been done for all the separate areas of land involved.

Before this ever goes to parliament the above deserves serious debate which at the moment appears to be lacking. I enclose supporting papers and photographs.

John Polkinghorne


Is fee rise justified?

I was dismayed to see that the new leadership at South Kesteven District Council recommended hitting the 'non profit' groups in Bourne who wish to hire the Corn Exchange, with a 46% rise in fees.

How on Earth can this be justified?

This information was publicised in the fee and charges item at the full council meeting of January 25.

Unfortunately, whilst I voted against this huge increase, the same cannot be said for a number of other Bourne district councillors, who voted in favour of the hike.

Come on guys, we need to be standing up and supporting our local groups and facilities, not running them into the ground!

Sue Woolley

Lincolnshire County Council (Con)

Beware of unwanted litter

The first day of our purple lidded bin collection and I duly filled my bin with only card and paper as requested only to find the bin men refusing to take it. This was as a result of someone passing who decided it was okay to throw there unwashed smoothie drinks bottle into my bin. Luckily I was there and took offending item out and my bin was then emptied. Beware!

Jennifer Skeritt

By email

Thank you for support

On behalf of all the volunteers of Stamford in Bloom, we would like to thank, so very much indeed, all those who kindly donated to the GoFund request which was set up by Stamford’s own Superman, Neil McIvor.

Over £1,000 was raised which represents an awful lot of bedding plants and compost and will enable us to keep Stamford looking beautiful - it is just so heartwarming to have such wonderful support.

Duncan Lingard

Chairperson, Stamford in Bloom

Does council have time to waste on Orwellian activity?

I have waited a week for my incandescent anger to subside before writing to you.

When retrieving our silver bin from the curb after it had been emptied, my husband discovered a ticket from SKDC fixed to it.

It seems that a council employee had been inspecting the contents of bins and leaving a ticket indicating that an inappropriate item had been placed there, and if it happened again our bin might not be emptied. What was our crime? A pizza box! Imagine that - a clean cardboard box which had contained a pizza, not the film or the inner cardboard tray, only the outer box. We always scrutinize the labels to be certain we put items in the correct bin.

Does the council really have time and resources to waste on this Orwellian Big Brother activity?

Why not, instead, send its employees around the district to check the appalling state of pavements and footpaths? My husband and I have mobility problems and a walk to our corner shop is dangerous along a footpath broken by tree roots and old asphalt, so instead we use the car which adds to pollution.

I am reminded of the words of that fine journalist the late Sir William (Bill) Deedes: "There is too much chastisement of the relatively innocent and not enough detection of the thoroughly guilty.

Delia Hearmon

Manthorpe Road, Grantham

Time to focus on the buses

As many Better Bus campaigns come together the National Pensioners Convention has recently joined forces across the country.

We call on the Government to urgently deliver high quality bus services, safe and accessible for everyone including disabled people, for all communities throughout England.

This will require guaranteed long term funding to make public transport the most efficient, reliable, affordable and attractive travel option.

With a move away from the current commercially led model to franchising and public ownership.

Services that run from early in the morning to late at night, seven days a week in all areas and communities.

With full integration with rail services and other transport, with simplified ticketing and improved information on and off buses.

Why is this important?

Buses are the best used form of public transport and are vital for all ages.

They enable people to lead fulfilling lives, connecting them with friends and the services they need.

Unfortunately, due to austerity, services have been severely degraded across England, with some places having no buses at all.

Increasing volumes of traffic has taken its toll on services with buses caught in congestion, causing costs to rise.

While the £2 bus fare cap has had a positive impact, some people can still find bus travel expensive.

Information, bus shelters and ticketing are also all too often of poor quality and fragmented.

This has led to many people being socially excluded with a lack of transport options.

Others are being pushed into transport poverty.

A radically different approach to bus services, acknowledging their wider benefits, including for the economy, would address these issues.

They would create more inclusive, affordable and accessible [including for people with disabilities] services.

They would help reduce motor traffic and pollution and help the UK meet its 2030 carbon target.

So please consider adding your signature to the petition and help us get better bus services for everyone in England.

This will give people better transport choices, reduce traffic and pollution and help us get net-zero quickly enough.

You can sign the petition at: www.megaphone.org.uk/ petitions/give-us-better-buses-for-england?

Rodney Sadd


Grateful for work opportunity

Having just returned to Parliament for the second time for work experience with Sir John Hayes MP, I am writing to thank him publicly and have witnessed the extensive effort he puts in each day and week.

Sir John is constantly engaged in a myriad of responsibilities; addressing the concerns of constituents, attending parliamentary sessions, and delving into complex policy matters.

In my short time in Sir John’s office, he had various meetings concerning pressing topics such as antisemitism, the changes to British steel, and more.

I am particularly grateful for the chance to work alongside the dedicated Sir John whose commitment to public service and work ethic have left a lasting impression on me.

As well as being well known as an exceptional constituency MP who gives attentive care to all his constituents, Sir John is one of Parliaments most active, hardworking, and respected MPs.

Over my time in parliament, I have witnessed John being held in high esteem by all colleagues and members of the public he came across and look forward to seeing Sir John’s future endeavors.

Carina Livsey

By email

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