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Readers from across Lincolnshire in Stamford, Grantham and Spalding share their views in our letters





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

Where is what’s been promised?

I would like to make a response to Alicia Kearns’ somewhat over emotional letter. She accuses me of falsehoods and political point scoring to which I would retort that this is a case of "the pot calling the kettle black".

The point I made was quite specific and was justified by the evidence. I stated, correctly, that she did not support Rutland as might have been expected as she had not signed the letter from the county All-Party Parliamentary Group sent to the Prime Minister and the Secretary Of State for DLUHC on 12th January 2024. This letter requested extra funding for rural counties and was signed by some Leicestershire MPs. Why did Alicia Kearns not sign it? It was an obvious letter to sign in support of Rutland. As I said, I'll leave it to members of the electorate to decide. I know what I think.

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

Alicia has been very active over the last year promoting her cause. Is this surprising? Probably not given the boundary changes and the impending will we, won't we election looming over all of us. However, she has been busy politicising parish councils and other organisations by co-opting them to her cause. This is regrettable and unnecessary. We expect better of our MP.

She has also been very positive about all the money she has brought into Rutland. As a councillor I say "where is it?". The numbers she quotes are often exaggerations: some of the money like the HS2 £49 Million for transport hasn't yet been ratified by Parliament. The so-called funding uplift she "secured" of 7.7% includes the assumption that RCC had to raise Council Tax rises by 4.99%, meaning that the real increase in funding was 2.7%. Much of the other funding quoted requires match funding from the recipient. The figures she quotes are the gross amount allocated not the actual award £ amount. I could go on, but you get my drift. We don't want politically motivated exaggeration, just the facts. I could offer a quote from Hamlet but that might be too populist.

The fact remains that local authorities are now massively underfunded compared to when the Conservatives came to power in 2010. The real value of funding for local authorities has dropped by 32% compared to 2010-11. These are not my figures, they come from the Local Government Association. This affects everyone living and working in Rutland. Don't we deserve a better deal from government? Who can influence this? I'll leave you to judge but I know who I hold accountable.

Andrew Johnson

Deputy leader, Rutland County Council

Why is toilet locked?

May I ask the council, through your paper, as to why they have padlocked the disabled toilet at the back of what was the Wilko store and also the toilet in the waiting room. We only have one public toilet in town which is not a good thing as if we have bus loads of people being dropped off there, the first thing you need is a toilet. Surely they could find someone willing to clean and keep an eye on the waiting room between certain hours. It’s a disgrace as the toilets are needed.

The waiting room would be used quite a lot as people queue there for the local bus to other towns.

Sheila Smith

Parkfield Road, Oakham

Editor’s note: In response Rutland County Council said: “In addition to public toilets at Oakham Bus Station and Church Street Car Park, members of the public can access customer toilets at both Oakham Library and the Council’s Catmose offices, during normal opening hours. The bus station is currently closed for safety reasons, while the building undergoes roof repairs. We do not currently have a date for when the building will reopen. Annual running costs for the bus station building, including utilities, cleaning, compliance and maintenance work are budgeted at around £20,000 a year.”

How does this benefit us?

I read with dismay that a site allocated in the Local Plan on Empingham Road is now being considered for yet another housing development in the town. With the future of the Barnack Road site in some time and therefore the employment provision contained within it, I question the lack of political will to provide varied employment opportunities particularly for the young people.

I find it amazing that on the Barnack Road site the so-called ‘collaboration’ agreement saw Burghley land also previously set aside for employment use is now identified as high quality residential development. I’m led to believe that with residential land worth at least twice that of commercial land the council have handed Burghley a multi-million pound benefit while the taxpayer is left holding an asset of unknown value along with the costs of demolition, clean up and associated costs, I certainly don’t see how this so called ‘collaboration’ agreement has any benefit to the taxpayer.

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

Perhaps the council can hand Burghley yet another multi-million pound bonanza on the Empingham Road at the expense of our children’s future job opportunities!

Andrew Jones

St Peter’s Hill, Stamford

Action has been taken

Following the your views public letter from the Rev Clive Doubleday of Bourne dated March 22, and the photograph showing discarded McDonald's fast food litter in the car park of Stantons Pit Nature Reserve, I would like to report back to the Rev Doubleday with the following action.

As a Witham-on-the-Hill conservation village resident, I have visited the nature reserve and the car park and I have cleared all the rubbish shown in the photograph.

I have also been in touch with Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust which manage the reserve to also report that a person/s has also very kindly dumped an old hoover, various metal parts, and a large industrial hired hose pipe in the car park?

This issue will be raised at the next parish council meeting, but be rest assured the reserve will now be watched and monitored by local villagers and anyone seen dumping rubbish and fly tipping will be reported to the police and vehicle registrations taken.

Gene Plews

Witham-on-the-Hill

Fined for being a patient

Regarding parking at Stamford Hospital, in February, my partner and I drove from Bourne as he had a consultation at Stamford about his tests for prostate cancer.

We could not find a parking space apart from one in the adjoining car park. My partner was told that tests had come back positive and that he had cancer. We drove home where a few days later a £60 fine had been issued for parking illegally.

We had no other option but to park where we could on the day and didn't realise that there was a charge. If people that do not have an appointment are filling the parking spaces then shame on them! To find out such bad news and to receive a £60 fine for receiving that news just because we couldn't find a space in the designated patients area is disgraceful.

We duly paid the fine.

Patricia Procter

Bourne

Guidelines are still relevant

I have read with interest your article on the Stamford Conservation Area in the Stamford Mercury edition of March 22. It is pleasing that there is an effort by the Town Council as well as SKDC and the Civic Society in maintaining what is regarded as excellent examples of the Town’s heritage in making businesses comply with an existing set of standards set out in the design guide – its presentation may appear dated but the guidelines and standards described remain as relevant today as they ever did. Of course revisions can make it appear more up to date without changing its premise of maintaining the heritage of Stamford.

We live in Market Deeping, sign posted as an ‘Historic Market Town’ in south Lincolnshire within the SKDC area with its designated Conservation Area dating back to 1970 and reviewed in 2004 the buildings within the area may not be as grand as those in Stamford but are still fine examples of buildings from 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries. We also have the Deepings Heritage who keep an eye on things.

The Market Deeping Town Council has an input to planning issues, as you put it for Stamford, as ‘eyes on the ground’ for the SKDC Planning Department. We’ve had our fair share of businesses that have ignored the regulations in place and have erected signage and advertising devices that are completely out of sync with the surrounding area. The Happy Shopper was made to change its bright red sign to a more conservative grey, the opticians on Church Street were declined permission to paint their shop front orange, one of the Gentlemen’s Barbers on the High Street were declined permission to have a illuminated Barber’s Pole erected on the front of the building with the Town Council objecting to having an illuminated sign of that type. The appalling signage on the town centre car wash needs sorting out.

There are now seven gentlemen’s barbers in the town centre! More recently we have had an influx of “Turkish Barbers” who have erected flashing LED signage, rotating flashing barbers poles and garish advertising boards all of which are completely out of character with the area – one even being within the residential part of the Conservation Area. This not Las Vegas or Blackpool sea front.

The SKDC planning department is trying to get the retrospective applications from these businesses but it is a terribly drawn out process taking months to get anywhere near the correct paperwork in place for set ups that certainly should never be approved indeed installed in the first place. The penalty described in your article of a two year prison sentence and unlimited fines seems a good way forward to me to bring these businesses into line. I wonder how any enforcement action, of these applications being refused, will be carried out?

If businesses wish to trade within established conservation areas they must be made to understand the standards that are acceptable. Perhaps the design guide could be adopted for all conservation areas within the remit of SKDC.

Name and address supplied

Appearance over safety

Further to the well-attended council meeting with Gareth Davies et al last week, I was amazed to find out that both Lincolnshire County Council and South Kesteven District Council think that the appearance of a road is far more important than the safety of local people, both drivers and pedestrians. It seems from the plans for the new road layouts in both the Market Place and Wharf Road multi junction, which were kept a closely guarded secret until that day, that the road level of most of Narrow Westgate from the Conduit will be raised to pavement level. This means that it will be much easier for pedestrians and cars to stray accidentally onto the wrong area, which will potentially cause more accidents because there will be no obvious delineation between the road and the pavements. But it will look beautiful! This so called “improvement” will take FIVE months of road works and major disruptions to complete. Having just suffered 4 days of similar problems with the Mid-lent fair, the prospect of five months of chaos will certainly kill anyone’s desire to visit Grantham and see many more empty shops, not to mention the total demise of our market.

Immediately following all the Westgate roadworks, SKDC plan to “improve” the major junction of Wharf Road, Harlaxton Road, Westgate etc by removing all the metal barriers on the pedestrian islands, thus making pedestrians far more vulnerable whilst waiting to cross this very busy junction. Cyclists are already endangering themselves by rushing across when traffic is just starting to move, especially at busy school times. Imagine how dangerous it will be when they can cross the junctions at any point once the railings are removed. But apparently the area will look much better when it is less cluttered! To be honest, as a pedestrian and a motorist, I would much prefer it to be safer regardless of looks. Better safe than sorry is a well known adage, which Richard Davies etc don’t seem to agree with.

If, like most people at Richard Davies’ meeting, you don’t agree with all these unnecessary and potentially life-threatening changes to both the Market Place and the Wharf Road junction, please email Richard Davies and your local councillors to let them know your concerns. Also, be prepared for total gridlock for at least 12 months starting from 15 April whilst these and other major roadworks take place across much of Grantham, affecting all businesses and the markets here. You have been warned (but not by your council!)

Lynda North

Grantham

Thank you for support at charity event

I would like to thank all those who attended my recent Mayor's Charity Dinner Dance and also those organisations and individuals who sponsored tables and donated raffle and auction prizes. In total we raised just over £1,800 for my two Mayoral charities which are the Grantham Foodbank and the ARK project for the homeless run by St. Wulfram's. The money raised will be added to the £600 that I previously raised last December by taking part in the annual sleepout and Santa Fun Run.

There is a further charity event taking place on Thursday 2nd May in the form of a pop and rock concert at the Guildhall Theatre featuring local Grantham acts including Trevor Leeson and Terry Carey. The tickets for this event are £15. It would be fantastic to see the theatre full for this event.

Mark Whittington

Mayor of Grantham

Penguins in a garden

What an interesting article recently on wild animals. According to my friend’s six-year-old granddaughter, I have something special in my garden. On a recent visit she spent the whole time looking out of the window saying: “You’ve got penguins in your garden, real penguins. Please can I feed them?” Once the door was opened they flew away. There were tears and great sadness but we adults knew that magpies could fly and penguins cannot.

Thank you for a great paper.

Val Odell

Croft Drive, Grantham

Easter poem

The sky grew dark

The air turned cold,

People stood in fear.

Disbelief was in their eyes,

At what had happened here.

And on the hill, the outline stark,

Of three crosses as foretold.

Here, three men were put to death,

Two robbers and the Son of God.

As death drew near, He cried aloud,

My God, Why have you forsaken me?

God said “In three days you will rise again,

And live for eternity.”

But God gave his beloved Son,

To guide and set us free.

But do we love and care for Him?

Oh! God have we forsaken thee?

Val Odell

Croft Drive, Grantham

Article brought back happy memories

I enjoyed the article about the dolls’ hospital, it brought back many memories. My doll, Sarah, had to have a wig, due to over zealous hair washing and the dolls clothes brought out a competitive streak with the girls at school. I had to have a wedding dress for my Sindy doll that the other girls had. My brother was going into town so I gave him all the money I had (not much!) and he wonderfully got it for me. I still have Sarah and Sindy!

Sally Weston

Hungerton

They’ll always go for low-hanging fruit

Regarding the story on contractors issuing more fines in South Holland, I would have thought it pretty obvious that a company that is contracted on a ‘cost-free basis’ will be more likely go after the ‘low hanging fruit’ of littering, to quickly generate the fines by which they presumably take a cut of to generate their income.

So, it stands to reason that the more difficult, time consuming and thus not so lucrative fly tipping will always be a lower priority because of this.

Perhaps those who gave out the contract in the first place should have thought of this possibility beforehand!

Rob Gent

Spalding

Letters can be sent to: news@lincsonline.co.uk. Please include your name, address and telephone number.



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