Readers from Stamford, Grantham, Spalding, Rutland and Bourne share their views on the issues making the news
Our readers have shared their views on a variety of issues.
Raise issues at council surgery
The Oakham South Ward Surgery which will be held on Saturday, February 3, from 10am to midday at the George Hotel nee Whipper-Inn in Oakham. All welcome and no appointment is needed. Thank you,
Coun Raymond Payne
Rutland County Council
Oakham North West councillors Steve McRobb and Ramsay Ross will be holding a surgery at the Scout Hut on Grampian Way on Friday, February 2, between 1.30pm and 2.30pm.
No appointment is necessary.
Surgeries are held on the first Friday of each month..
Coun Steve McRobb and Coun Ramsay Ross
Rutland County Council
Make changes now to avoid flooding
Poor and inadequate maintenance of the grass verges, the grips and the drains by Rutland County Council has been a major factor in the extent of the flooding that we have seen in many of the villages in Rutland with the recent storms that we have experienced .These storms are almost certainly due to the effect of Climate Change of which there will certainly be more and with increasing frequency.
To await the results of a review is nonsense and will almost certainly lead to more homes being flooded in the interim period.
Why cannot Rutland Council face reality and responsibility and press ahead NOW with maintenance of the Grass Verges, the Grips and very importantly the Drains
Another drop-in on banking hub needed
I was very sorry to miss the drop-in session at Oakham Castle about how the new banking hub, where Lloyds Bank used to be in the High Street, will work. I do hope the powers that be will have another event so the public can get up to speed on the new hub - with a bit more notice please.
I certainly would like to know about the new way of using banks as in the new hub. Maybe Cash Access UK can organise another drop-in session. I can’t be the only one who was caught out.
New councillors are breath of fresh air
In April 2023 Uppingham gained four new councillors and in the months since we have seen refreshing changes and lively exchanges. The last council meeting reflected this by councillors only voting for the draft neighbourhood plan to go forward to the next stage by a difference of just one vote.
We want to applaud these new councillors for breathing fresh life into our town hall. They are determined to listen to and voice residents’ concerns. When people heard rumours that a few councillors had been in discussions in other groups about bringing a crematorium to the town and building houses on their allotments, it was our new councillors who fought for these rumours to be discussed openly at council meetings. Residents crowded into the meetings to demand the truth and follow-up action. They have been attending ever since.
We believe that where individual councillors have knowledge of a controversial issue affecting everyone it should be aired transparently at full council meetings with early consideration given to the views of those most affected.
In particular we want to thank the new councillors for getting involved at grass roots levels. They give hands-on, voluntary support to our community fridge and souper space as well as to initiatives for teenagers. They stand at the roadside to politely let people know when they are breaking the speed limit in our town. They have even been seen in wheelchairs to experience the discomfort and danger of tackling pavements without a dropped kerbside.
They have helped us realise that certain other groups or forums in the town, even when managed by councillors, are not actually part of the council. We now know that any of us can ask for a matter to be debated at a full council meeting, and go along to watch, comment or raise a question. And yes, while wanting ot say thank you to the new folk we recognise that some of the longer serving councillors also welcome the new arrivals who are giving a boost to their own long standing calls for greater openness in all council business.
Ms Holland, Mr Jeffs, Mr Notley, Mr Wright, Mr Peckett and Ms Parker
Stamford drivers are paying for Grantham
At the last cabinet meeting of SKDC the proposal to increases parking fees in Stamford and Grantham was passed. The council leader Richard Cleaver (an elected representative from Stamford) proposed a couple of amendments, free Sunday parking in Wharf Road car park and reductions in price of the weekly , monthly, quarterly tickets and 15% reduction for employees of businesses in the town.
Apparently this was a result of the feedback he had received locally. If this was meant as an olive branch it was more like a poppy seed. Grantham councillors managed to get another car park with two hours free parking on a Saturday.
In the overall scheme of things the increased revenue from the proposed increase in fees for Stamford will subsidize Grantham's free parking.
The other elected SKDC councillor from Stamford on the cabinet, Rhea Rayside (amazingly she is also a Stamford Town Councillor) remained silent. I ask the question if Stamford's own representatives on SKDC are not seen to protect and promote Stamford's interest what is their role and purpose.
Does it not cross their minds what damage the introduction of evening , Sunday and Bank holiday parking charges will have on Stamford's night time business economy and also visitors to Stamford. Let us remember clearly why the proposal to introduce evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday parking fees " to bring us in line with neighbouring authorities." There is not a cost justification. Income and expenditure for car parks in SKDC has historically produced a surplus circa. £500K.
When this decision by the SKDC Cabinet comes before full council for ratification I would expect the Stamford representatives to at least vote against it. This will not alter things but at least the Stamford public can see they are being represented.
This decision has to go out to public consultation and I am sure the Stamford public, Stamford Town Council and other organisations will feedback their disapproval. Stamford is forever being used as the cash cow for SKDC.
Ermine Rise, Great Casterton
Please will SKDC and Stamford Town Council tell us how a proposed 19% increase in the daily long term parking charge (from £4.20 to £5 - Mercury, January 26 ) will do anything other than increase the existing level of street parking in Stamford, which is already chaotic in places ? With the proposed new charge of up to £3 on Sundays and Bank Holidays, we can expect to have street parking all week long !
I note that Richard Cleaver has asked for an amendment to reduce the costs to season ticket holders. This is an absolute must in order to help reduce street parking.
With regard to the issue of potential new parking spaces at the Cattle Market (Mercury January 19 ), if the above parking increases go ahead and there is no reduction in season ticket costs, then no amount of additional parking places will address the level of street parking and there will continue to be empty spaces in long term car parks, which will also be found on Sundays in future with the new £3 charge. Why do I suspect that the supposed impartial review referred to by Richard Cleaver will come up with the wrong answer? I think we need to be made aware of the full details of this feasibility review.
On a happier note, I can report seeing an otter in the River Welland this week - the first I have ever seen in Stamford.
Casterton Road, Stamford
Taxes are on the rise
As you may have noticed, taxes are once again on the rise in South Kesteven. It’s crucial to grasp why and identify the culprits. My colleagues and I in the South Kesteven Coalition twice championed freezing the green waste bin collection charge. Frankly, it’s high time to give users of this service a respite. To knock this stealth tax on the head.
We suggested covering the revenue shortfall from trimming catering costs, reducing conference expenses, and reining in consultancy fees. While we lavishly allocate thousands to each, consultancy fees are the granddaddy, nearly hitting £400,000 of your money from May to November last year. The proposal was sensible, measured stuff, but twice the ruling Rainbow Alliance, encompassing Labour, Independents, and even Greens, tossed the idea aside. Threw it in the bin. (Maybe they’ll get one of those petty bin tags?)
Coun Paul Fellows (Ind, Bourne) declared he was content to ‘have the life taxed out of him’, suggesting that if residents disliked the green bin stealth tax, they could cancel the service. Pushing anyone to cancel this cherished service risks a surge in fly-tipping of green waste.
Increasingly, the unwhipped Grantham Independents seem to be moving in a united front against the taxpayer, exhibiting remarkable discipline and an absence of independent thought. They rally behind Coun Ashley Baxter’s (Ind – Deepings) hard left administration, not one of them daring to break ranks. Keep this in mind when the bills arrive.
South Kesteven District Council (Con - Isaac Newton Ward)
Dentists and doctors are gold dust
I made a recent visit to the dentist, check up due. After an inspection the dentist then turned around and said that unfortunately when my next check up was due I could no longer be an NHS patient as she was going private. I was dumbstruck. I have been a patient there for many years. I then went to reception to pay and again was told no more NHS treatment and no-one else at the practice was taking anymore patients. I was told I could be kept on the books and if any NHS vacancies came up in the future I would be notified. I’m sure I’m not the only one this has happened to. Thank you Bupa!
I am now left with no dentist and looking for another one is like looking for a needle in a haystack. One of many, I suspect, disgusted patients.
Also Stamford is growing at an alarming pace so where are all these new residents going to find a dentist or for that matter a doctor? Both are like gold dust.
Time to look for an Oliver Cromwell
So what is going on? London has had their sewers sorted; their railways sorted; roads sorted; flood defences sorted.And the rest of us?While our MPs consider whether their pay rise is enough to cover the vast amount of effort they put in on behalf of the English public, we are suffering the effects of their incompetence.
As both of our major political parties are mediocre and the others are a joke, perhaps it is time we looked for a modern Oliver Cromwell. The Conservatives have given us high taxes, a disregard of care for our elderly who need help; and Labour hope to slide in without giving any indication of what they will do. Both cannot be trusted to do anything other than feather their own nests.
We should be thinking of combining with other depressed regions. The English people are not alone.
Ministers sit on their hands
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has estimated that 4,950 excess winter deaths in the UK were caused by living in cold homes during 2022/23.
Records also indicate that when the temperature in the UK drops below four degrees centigrade, the level of excess winter deaths sky-rockets. The average temperature last winter was 4.3 degrees. While December 2023 was exceptionally warm, average daily temperatures for the UK in January dipped to - 2 and in some places were - 10.
The Government continues to rely on Warm Homes Discounts, Cold Weather Payments and Winter Fuel Payments as the measures of support to households, however these are limited in eligibility and impact.
This winter the Government refused demands to support households through an Emergency Energy Tariff and a help to repay scheme for those in energy debt. But the Government’s approach is an increasingly dangerous strategy with the effects of climate change taking hold.
The Met Office official guidance is that El Nino winters could become more common as global temperatures increase. With 2023 being declared as the hottest year on record, campaigners have urged politicians to grasp the seriousness of the situation.
Figures from the Warm This Winter campaign show that 8.3m adults are living in cold damp homes this winter and as temperatures drop, these conditions go from being uncomfortable to downright dangerous.
But while households struggle, Ministers are sitting on their hands and leaving matters of life and death to chance. Instead of taking action on energy bills, they have allowed energy firms to restart using the courts to force households onto prepayment meters and have now ruled out reform to energy tariffs to help those most in need. They would rather play politics with a ridiculous Oil and Gas Licensing Bill that will do nothing to improve energy security or lower bills than take meaningful action to help households struggling right now.
Jan Shortt, General Secretary of the National Pensioner’s Convention, said: “We are very concerned at the level of disinterest shown by the Government in the welfare of older people at a time when the temperature is dropping well below freezing. Older people are struggling with the cost of energy and other inflated bills, we know many are afraid to turn the heating on at all.
“Add this to the decision by Ofgem and the government to allow the force-fitting of energy prepayment meters to resume, while energy providers continue to enjoy inflated profits, smacks of abandonment of those struggling to pay their bills without any relief on the horizon.”
Greenpeace UK’s climate campaigner, Georgia
Whitaker, said: “ This is a national scandal. The UK has the least insulated homes in Western Europe. We’ve known this for years. Yet every year thousands of people are dying as a result and our government is doing nothing to fix the problem.
“Insulating homes at speed and scale right across the UK would drastically reduce these unavoidable deaths, as well as the cost of living crisis by lowering bills and slashing household emissions. But until this happens, this shameful government negligence will continue to cost people their lives, and without climate leadership the government will be punished at the ballot box.
Supporter of the NPC
Send your letters to: email@example.com