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Readers from Stamford, Bourne, Spalding and Rutland share their views on devolution, purple recycling bins and flooding





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

Make use of our pubs

I’m sure your readers will be interested in Rutland CAMRA’s ‘Pub of the Season’ awards.

Cartoon by John Elson
Cartoon by John Elson

Each season three pubs are shortlisted using the ‘beer scores’ from CAMRA members. These scores are based on the quality of the real ale or cider served, with the top three scoring pubs forming a short list from which Rutland CAMRA members vote. The 2023 Autumn season (October to December) shortlist of pubs is as follows: The Captain Noel Newton in Oakham , The Wheatsheaf in Oakham and the Vaults in Uppingham. Members of the Rutland CAMRA branch will now be voting on their choice, and the resultant winner will be awarded the ‘Pub of the Season’ title for Autumn 2023. The result will be announced at their branch meeting on February 8 at the Whipper Inn in Oakham.

Whilst there has to be a winner, it is a tribute to all three establishments to be shortlisted out of a possible 51 pubs, clubs and hotels in the area. In these troubled economic times, pubs are finding it hard, and it is pleasing to note that in spite of these difficulties, the quality of ales, ciders and service remains high across the county as evidenced by the high levels of ‘beer scores’ across a good many establishments. Use ‘em or lose ‘em dear readers!

Rutland CAMRA’s web site contains a host of interesting information: wwrutland.camra.org.uk. Why not join us for great social events, and a good opportunity to meet a wide range of new friends!

Dave Casewell

branch secretary Rutland Camra

Will our house be flooded? Maybe

For nearly 50 years I have maintained that our house, being near the highest point in Stamford, would never be flooded. However, I fear I must now revise my opinion and take appropriate flood precautions as I see that Fujitsu, the computer company behind the Post Office’s Horizon scandal, has been awarded a multi million pounds contract by The Environment Agency, to supply a computerised flood defence system.

John Fox

Cottesmore Road, Stamford

Council played a part in flood response

Many residents and businesses throughout South Kesteven were affected by Storm Henk and some will be in the recovery phase for weeks to come.

My sympathy goes out to them and I would like to stress that South Kesteven District Council will continue to do all it can to support them.

In his column last week Gareth Davies MP failed to mention the role South Kesteven District Council played in the response to the flooding in the aftermath of the storm and I would like to redress this.

The villages of Greatford and Tallington were worst affected by flooding, but there were also issues in and around Stamford, Bourne and Market Deepings.

SKDC was involved in the county-wide response as part of the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum from the beginning of the storm. A ‘command and control’ team was set upin order toprioritize support in the worst-hit areas of the district.

SKDC contacted occupants to provide advice and support and, where appropriate, offered temporary accommodation as soon as notification was received of internal flooding at residential properties.Additionally, there were daily welfare checks on Council tenants who had reported internal flooding.

For residents of Greatford an information/rest centre was set up by SKDC in Carlby Village Hall on Wednesday 3rd Januaryand the following day.

An information/rest centre was set up at the Whistlestop Inn, Tallington, on Thursday 4th January and the following day. Trained SKDC staff manned both of these facilities.

On the evening of Thursday, January 4, the council received reports residents of Greatford were unable to use their toilets. SKDC responded immediately by arranging six portable toilets to be procured and delivered. They were in place the following day. The Rotary Club of the Deepings and Deeping Round Table also arranged the supply of three additional portable toilets.

A detailed letter providing general information, useful sanitation and safety guidance was hand-delivered by teams of SKDC officers to affected residents of Greatford and Tallington on Saturday, January 6.

As part of this, officers were able to engage with residents, gaining further knowledge as to the issues some were experiencing and also provided residents with additional support and advice. We supported both council tenants and private residents.

Our Public Protection Team also worked closely with commercial premises that were affected, providing advice, guidance and support.

A £35,000 Flood Recovery Fund was quickly established to help cover costs in the response and recovery phases which included:

· Contacting all parish and town councils to ascertain the impact and what support may be required

· Road and path cleaning

· Provision of three waste skips each for Greatford and Tallington

· Additional waste and bulky item collection rounds

· Continuing welfare checks on affected residents

· Assessing eligibility of residents and businesses for receipt of Government funding associated with Storm Henk

· Sourcing and distributing 850 sandbags across the district to support preventative measures against flooding in affected areas

· Preparing and sticking additional sandbags to be available for distribution on request

Committing considerable resources across several service areas round-the-clock shows how seriously SKDC takes its responsibilities in emergency situations. SKDC responded well to what we and the County were faced with under Storm Henk.

There is always room for improvement and to cement this, our Rural and Communities Scrutiny Committee will be conducting a postpartum to make sure we responded appropriately and suggest any ways in which we can improve in the future.

Coun Rhea Rayside

SKDC Cabinet Member for People and Communities

Joined up thinking for new bins?

In his letter dated October 2023 Mr Wyles stated that the council would write to advise when to start using the new bins.

I have asked Coun Richard Cleaver (leader of South Kesteven District Council) why this did not happen and I have been informed that the letters are being sent out now. Seems a little late considering the bins were supposed to be being used from Monday, January 8.

Joined up thinking from our new council?

Alan Woodley

Traffic issues could be solved

Further to the Mercury report, January 5, ‘Street parking causes traffic issues’, I would like to add the following points.

Constant stopping and starting while negotiating unnecessary traffic jams in Stamford results in additional pollution and reduced productivity. Since the hold ups are frequently caused by cars using the streets to park all day, this clearly shows the need for more, low cost car parking facilities - not higher charges, which will inevitably lead to even more street parking.

Another point I would advocate is to get kids out of cars. We must encourage more of them to walk or cycle to school. The exercise would be good for them anyway.

The argument is often made that it is now too dangerous for children to cycle to school because of the volume of traffic. However, I would suggest that many of these cars are taking kids to school, so they are the ones that are actually adding to the traffic, unnecessarily. Stamford is a totally different place during the school holidays as far as traffic volume is concerned.

Finally, I note the comments made by Coun Richard Davies. This of course is the same gentleman who overruled the will of Stamford people regarding the absurd and unnecessary expenditure in Red Lion Square. Perhaps if he and others actually listened to the people and acted to improve traffic issues in Stamford, then we would all be better served.

Michael Sharpe

Stamford

The parking in Stamford has, as I am sure many others would agree, become terrible. There are a couple of issues, one the availability of free or cheap parking and two, the people who work but don’t necessarily live in the town who don’t want to pay for parking. I know this especially to be true on Sussex Road because the street is empty when I drive to work at 6am. This type of parking causes many dangers and frustrations for residents on Cliff Road, New Cross Road, Sussex Road and Radcliffe Road. I am sure there are many other roads who have the same problem too.

Cars are parked with absolutely no consideration to residents or other road users. Some residents have even taken to parking on the opposite side in protest making the roads even more dangerous and frustrating when you can’t pass, or you meet another vehicle coming the other way in a very small space.

The junction of Cliff Road and New Cross Road is especially dangerous with people parking right on the corner making it a blind junction, people still drive at excessive speeds for the conditions either rushing to get through following someone else, or in trying to deny others using the wrong side of the road through inconsideration or bloody mindedness because a driver hasn’t waved a thank you for letting them through.

Over the past year or so I have personally seen many crashes at that junction and I am sure there are ones I haven’t seen. Parents with children in buggies run the gauntlet to cross over due to the lack of sight of on-coming traffic at the junction.

Grass verges are being destroyed where large vehicles have to pass or get through tight spaces because the angry resident has parked their vehicle on the side of the road to the one normally used. God help us should a fire engine need to get by…

Because the cars always park to one side Sussex Road has become highly susceptible to pot holes which are never permanently repaired so re-appear as quick as they are fixed, which isn’t always that quick any way despite significant safety issues for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

I don’t suppose the council are too worried to do anything soon because I am sure they have all the free parking they need and more.

Andrew Clemson

Kindness made a difference

I fell on St Leonard’s Street pavement in Stamford on Wednesday 10th and a car immediately stopped. The lady inside came to my rescue, helped me up and insisted on driving me to my destination. Unfortunately I didn’t get her name but her care and kindness made a real difference and I would like to say a big thank you.

Elizabeth Boos

Brownlow Quay, Stamford

Solar farms are ruining rural land

I always thought that along with Kent, Lincolnshire is the leading farming county in the country.

Sorry but no more solar panel farms are taking this beautiful county over, spoiling the lovely landscapes.

There are billions in this world starving due to food shortages and there we are taking agricultural land out of use. for something that needs sunshine

Alan Ward, Sleaford

Problem needs solving

With reference to the article about several crashes on an icy road (Stamford Mercury January 12), I would like to educate Lincolnshire County Council that the clue to the likely cause of the flooding in Conduit Road is held in the name of the road itself!

There is a well-documented history of a medieval conduit or water course that originally ran from the top of the road terminating in a water pump in St Paul's Street, the remains of which can still be seen in that street in a recessed site. The conduit reveals itself each time there is excess rain and can also be seen spilling out onto the path at the lower end of the road. In which case, it is not Anglian Water's problem.

It's about time Lincolnshire County Council carried out a proper investigation to determine that it is indeed a naturally occurring water course and stop throwing it back as a burst water main. I have complained about the problem of "leaking water" on the road many times over the years I have lived here, resulting in water company and council blaming each other, and still the farce goes on. Incidentally, the long stretch of road with only the width for one car referred to by Simon Ingram in the article is a problem caused initially by Lincolnshire County Council who placed bollards on the left hand side going down the hill, stopping cars from pulling in to allow other drivers past. Drivers do increase their speed when they see an opportunity to "go" because if you meet another car coming up the other way you are stuck and usually have to reverse quite a long way back. What with this and the gradient of the road, it is little wonder that so many accidents happen in bad weather.

Please get something done about this as soon as possible before someone is killed. The gritting of this road will be of some help (if it happens), but is way overdue when so many accidents have already occurred!

Corinna Hoptroff

Conduit Road, Stamford

Have we been mugged?

Like many Stamfordians, when I read that the Stamford Town Council precept will rise by 38% my face turned as purple as my new bin lid. That is an increase from £550,000 to £750,000. Is this in addition to consuming the £500,000 earmarked reserves that were brought forward from last year for such things?

The people of Stamford have been mugged by the South Kesteven District Council.

The district council passed assets to the town council but did not pass on the operational savings resulting from offloading such assets. They spent that money elsewhere. The town council seem hapless to resist, so dutifully pick up the tab. The district council will claim that this was driven by the town council which were keen to acquire the assets without considering the ongoing expense.

This action undoubtedly cost Stamford residents a higher council tax bill through our increased local precept whilst giving the district council more money to spend.

This does not bode well as we are about to have imposed on us yet another layer of Local Government, with the Greater Lincolnshire Mayoral administration, which will provide even more opportunities for the upper chambers to dump costs on the junior councils beneath them.

As the folk in Grantham will tell you - Gravity dictates effluent will flow downhill.

So many layers of government can only end in tiers.

Bill Anderson

Stamford

District could lose out with new Mayor

As a retired local government officer who began his career in the late 1960s and worked in a variety of types of local authority organisations, I could not resist sending my thoughts on the subject to Councillors Nick Worth and Rob Gibson and Sir John Hayes MP, all of whom are concerned to do the best for the people of South Holland. These are my thoughts on the present proposals: The amalgamation of Lincolnshire with North Lincolnshire and Northeast Lincolnshire will create a new larger local government unit even more remote from many communities, especially those in rural areas, and less sensitive to individual needs and opportunities. The creation of another layer of local government will be at an extra cost to the public purse, for its premises, staff and administration. The creation of another layer of local government will require more public resources spent on liaison and resolving disagreements instead of providing services.

Power appears to rest with the larger authorities. Lincolnshire County Council and the two unitary authorities will have voting rights, but there is no automatic place at the table nor voting rights for any of the districts. District councils are in effect being downgraded. South Holland could lose out.

The elected mayor will effectively perform the role of the relevant government department in holding local government to account. This “arm’s length” role will protect the government from responsibility in a similar way as the role of the Police and Crime Commissioners.

The money promised to Lincolnshire looks like an inducement to the public to accept the government’s proposals. But how much of it will come to South Holland, given where the power will be within the organisation of the Mayoral Authority? South Holland District Council has demonstrated its own ability to attract government funding (e.g. for the development of the Castle Sports Complex); SHDC must not be denied similar opportunities in the future as a result of the proposed changes.

Roger Smith

Spalding

If you want to share your views, email: news@lincsonline.co.uk



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