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Letters from readers in Stamford, Grantham, Spalding, Bourne and Rutland





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

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

Show was outstanding

The show last Thursday at the Guildhall for the Mayor's charity (The Grantham Food Bank) was outstanding. The compere Dennis Hannett did a brilliant job in introducing 60s band Premier Cru, The Trio band Dunne and Rusted, Jazz Singer Hattie Johnson, Terry Carey and Trevor Leeson. A most enjoyable evening of entertainment. Well done to all of you.

Clare Childs

Grantham

Thank you for your votes

We are writing to thank the voters of Grantham St Vincent's ward for electing us to the new Grantham Parish Council, last week.It has been 50 years since Grantham had its own council, and it is long overdue. The new council may have a slow start, as SKDC have limited the budget for the first year. However, it can still elect a mayor, consult with communities, comment on planning matters and other issues, and may take over some services from SKDC.And the first thing will be to rename the council from Parish Council to Town Council.

Councillors Charmaine and John Morgan

Democratic Independents - Grantham St Vincent's ward

Council leisure financing decision

We all stood for election as county councillors last May in order to serve the residents of Rutland, accepting that on occasions, we would be faced with making tough and often unpopular decisions in the prioritisation of council spending, given that local government finances are stretched to breaking point.

Decision making related to public spending is procedurally very tightly controlled. This is a good thing in so far as ensuring prudent use of public finances however with it, comes a complexity that can be as frustrating to your councillors as it is to members of the public in understanding the rationale for certain decisions.

We were appalled at the way the decision on any future subsidy of Catmose Sports Centre was presented at the special council meeting on April 18 and at an earlier meeting on March 25 and indeed, at the whole process that led up to those meetings. Cabinet first met in August 2023 to discuss the initial stage of the tender process for a new provider which was completed in November. Opportunities to explore other models, to set clear policy and to engage with all councillors and with residents have clearly been missed.

In April, councillors were then presented with an impossible funding choice between leisure versus climate change and flooding, tabled by the Liberal Democrat cabinet leadership, just days before the special meeting. They then voted against their own recommendation.

All of this led to an entirely unsatisfactory and procedurally controlled special meeting on April 18. Councillors should not have been put in that position and nor should the public have had to witness such a meeting. Rutland deserves better.

Councillors Rosemary Powell, Andrew Brown, Samantha Harvey, Oliver Hemsley, Kevin Corby, Nick Begy, Tracy Carr

Rutland County Council - Independent Group members

More awareness needed on dementia

Your article on dementia featuring Stephen Fry was an enjoyable read. The concept of making dementia more of a conversation is very important especially when it comes to noticing the signs. The trouble starts when you try and get the doctors involved. I’m currently at the beginning of this process and the local surgery have been so awful it appears obtuse. They constantly arrange telephone appointments when I’ve told them repeatedly that Dad can use the phone. The whole situation is chaos and it falls to the family involved to keep the process moving.

Name and address supplied

Congratulations to school

I would like to congratulate staff, pupils and most of all Stuart Williams on Ofsted’s recent inspection of Catmose College. Through Stuart Williams’ dedicated leadership and the efforts of all staff Catmose College have retained their top category, ‘Outstanding’, which they previously held. This is a tremendous achievement. I believe that Catmose College may be one of the only state school to have maintained such status.

I am well aware of the pressures and difficulties that Stuart Williams and his staff face – it makes Ofsted’s judgement all the sweeter. I want to thank Stuart and all staff for the amazing job they do giving youngsters in Rutland the best start in life.

Everyone in Rutland should be proud of the exceptional high standard of education offered here. All our state schools are good and we have two famous public schools offering a high standard of education as well. There are so many ways in which we live up to our motto ‘multum in parvo’ – much in little.

Dr Sarah Furness

Lord Lieutenant of Rutland

Cars should not be banned

I am concerned about the idea of banning cars from Stamford town centre and removing on-street parking. As a disabled driver, I remember when the High Street was first pedestrianised. I could walk a few yards then so needed to be able to park near shops etc. I also had a young toddler with me as well. I found that going into the precinct before 10 am and after 4 pm was not safe for us as the precinct would be full of delivery vans and lorries plus shopper's cars. I contacted the county council and was the first person to be given a pass allowing me to enter the precinct between 10am and 4pm. On the first day I used it, a police officer stopped me and said I was not allowed to drive here. I told her I had a pass, and she said 'I had heard it mentioned there might be one but I have never seen one'.

I know other people had them, but it was never large numbers. It helped me and my small children use the local shops and, most importantly, the library which my children used frequently. The proposed scheme to install rising traffic bollards to keep traffic out would also keep disabled drovers and emergency vehicles out. Removing on-street parking will also affect disabled drivers. One way systems may sound great if you live in Lincoln but please come and look at Stamford to see what you're doing. I did speak to a county councillor on the phone about the pedestrianisation scheme at the time, who said 'I really must come and look at Stamford and see where the pedestrian zone would be.' !

Remember, not everyone can walk or cycle so you could put more people off using the town centre shops and facilities. Many traditional retailers have moved out of Stamford tone centre and gone to retail parks. Stamford thrived because of its range of individual small shops which attracted visitors, and also had a busy street market on Fridays to attract out of town visitors from the villages. Entrance signs to the town used to say: 'Welcome to Stamford. Stay awhile amidst its ancient charm.' Please think before you destroy any more of it.

Marjorie Needham

Stamford Town Mayor 1989-1990

The proposal to pedestrianise Maiden Lane greatly affects me as I go to Pirrie Optometrist there and have a disabled badge. When I go my daughter drops me off there and then parks in Wharf Road. I couldn’t possibly walk up there especially as it’s uphill and very narrow. There isn’t enough disabled spaces anyway. I suggest you think a bit more for us that are disabled.

Mrs M Berkes

I have read all the ideas on how to improve Stamford’s roads, other than the potholes, it would be lovely to drive round town with no parked cars. BUT where are all these parked cars going to go? If they all parked in said car parks we would need more car parks, the parking bays are not wide enough for today’s wider cars. Also the drivers who park on Roman Bank, Tinwell Road and Empingham Road plus all the other roads dont want to pay for car parking. Also many town residents have to park on the road as they have no off street parking, the new estates are no better. End of school time there are four schools very close to one another that in itself causes mayhem. Where will the cycle route on Casterton Road start as the bottom of said road is full of cars?

I hope whoever has thought of these ideas has driven, biked or walked through and around our lovely town.

Helen Hawkins

Stamford

Delighted at new roles

Last week, we were delighted to be elected as the new mayor and deputy mayor of Stamford Town Council.

Although we joined the council under the banner of different political parties, we both agree that party politics should have no place on a town council. As such, we are committed to working together to do the one thing we both believe in completely - serve Stamford to the best of our abilities.

We hope to foster a positive atmosphere both in the council chamber and across the town and look forward to working in partnership with our fellow councillors, officers and the many representatives of our community - the community groups, businesses, visitors and most importantly residents. One of our first pledges is to hold regular events throughout the year in the Town Hall for members of the community to come in and speak to us and we will be putting together a schedule of these events in the near future.

Kelham Cooke and Amanda Wheeler

Stamford Town Council

An expensive white elephant

Thank you for the recent article and associated timeline of the redevelopment of the Cummins site, following the purchase of the site by SKDC in 2019. It is interesting that the site has become the expensive ‘white elephant’, it seems to have.

At the time, a number of concerns were raised about the plans for the site, which with the addition of two adjoining fields, owned by Burghley became the much vaunted proposed St Martins Park. The vested interests were formidable: SKDC as both applicant and approver of the associated planning application, alongside the considerable influence of Burghley.

Public Consultation and possibly more stringent examination of a development of this size was limited due to COVID.

The initial hearing for the planning application for St Martins was for the same reason, on-line. Copies of the objections which under normal circumstances would be heard on the day, were required to be pre-submitted to SKDC (also the Applicant). Twenty minutes after submission, we were advised that the application would not be heard as planned.

A revised planning application was submitted quite some months later - presumably we had raised a number of pertinent concerns, not least that the adjoining fields were not originally identified in the consultation process of the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan, as areas for the mixed/residential development proposed.

Our two representatives who were allowed to attend the subsequent planning application hearing - this time in person, whilst recognising the uneven nature of the contest, were genuinely taken aback at the lack of any genuine consideration within the democratic process of our very real objections. It was clear that this application had to succeed.

Our concerns about the development, which includes the Cummins site, remain:

*additional development for Stamford

*size of development

*lack of supporting infrastructure and impact upon town’s facilities

*impact upon traffic and existing residential area

Whilst we have no doubt that Councillor Richard Cleaver and others, are doing their very best in the unenviable task of picking up the pieces in relation to SKDC’s purchase of the Cummins site, we would ask them, as they seek to recoup the council’s losses, to be mindful of the above in their search for a suitable purchaser with deep pockets; the impact of any development will be felt by the town permanently.

St Martin’s Resident Group

Reclaim credit from suppliers

Millions of householders are being urged to check their energy accounts after it was revealed that providers are sitting on £3billion of customers’ money.

Research from comparison site Uswitch.com shows the average home is around £210 in credit with their gas and electricity supplier.

Uswitch.com is now advising households to consider reclaiming any substantial amounts of credit that is above two months worth of payments.

One in seven people [14%] have balances over £300 and 5% have more than £500 with their energy provider, but only 28% of consumers plan to ask for it to be refunded.

Two in five households [44%] say they have more credit sitting in their account than this time last year because their direct debit has been set too high.

Will Owen, energy expert at Uswitch said: “Despite the expensive winter for energy bills, more than half of the UK households are exiting winter with credit on their accounts. This may be because households were spending more on energy than the previous winter, as they were not benefitting from government bill support this time around.

“In recent years, when bills have been so high and unpredictable, it has been a good idea to keep a lot of credit with your energy supplier. However, the fall in prices this spring means that consumers with excessive credit may want to consider reclaiming some of it. If you have a high credit balance, you may want to ask your supplier to check that your direct debit is set at the right level for the amount of energy you use.”

NPC fuel poverty coalition partners, Warm This Winter, are offering advice on how to find out if your account is in credit and what you can do about it. Is your energy supplier holding onto your cash? [warmthiswinter.org.uk]

NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt commented: “ Despite the price cap falling, which helps to keep energy bills lower, the overall cost of fuel has never been higher, with millions, particularly older and vulnerable people, still struggling to pay bills.

“It’s astonishing that energy providers are sitting on so much of our money in this climate.”

It’s all very well, energy bills may be falling, and it’s good news, but they are still high by historic standards and unfortunately the number of people in debt has been rising.

It remains important that those who do owe money to their energy suppliers continue to be given the support they need.

If concerned about your energy debt, get in touch with your provider.

Also make sure you submit regular meter readings to your supplier if you do not have a smart meter.

Rodney Sadd

Crowland supporter of the NPC

Send letters to news@lincsonline.co.uk



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