Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Marianne Overton MBE - newsletter

March 2018

Whilst Marianne is no longer our local councillor for the Potterhanworth & Coleby Ward (that is now Councillor Ron Oxby), I still receive her monthly newsletters.

These are some extracts that are not necessarily centric to her own Ward (Bassingham & Welbourn) and may be of interest to you:

Money for Lincolnshire
National government has continued to keep hold of your income tax and not send it for local services. At the same time, extra demands from more people with more complex needs and a rising minimum wage has increased costs. The Councils have reduced services and raised local tax by the maximum amount allowed. The County with big costs like roads, adult and children’s care is also taking £35.8m out of reserves over two years and sold off assets.  The District Council provides around 10% of the local services and raised tax by £4.95/year per Band D dwelling.

In my national role, as Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association, I have been pushing for all of our business rates to be kept locally. This year for the first time, Lincolnshire is one of ten pilot Councils that is allowed to do just that. This is expected to mean we have over £18m more, with £7.5m going to the County Council and £1.2 to the North Kesteven District.

We also have a further £1.7m from the government for rural roads, added to £2.5m from reserves, £4m from an underspend (!) making around £8m more for highways.

State of our Roads
Even before the snow, you will have noticed our roads are in a poor state. The amount of money spent on keeping our roads in order has been reducing steadily. This is a false economy as the roads then deteriorate ever faster as the water gets in.

I rang highways every day last week before the freeze, raised the issue at full Council and met the Director. Richard Wills is now the Acting Chief Executive of LCC, following Tony McArdle’s departure. He accepted the criticism. They are behind schedule, even more so now the weather has worsened. As the water gets into the broken surface, it freezes and simply pops out the tarmac in a pothole.

The Director also accepted that we need to do more proper repairs. Their calculations had been that it was cost-effective to do thousands of emergency repairs for safety, but I argued they are popping out more quickly than expected. He acknowledges that this is also a reputational issue and is now changing the operations to do better repairs with the extra funding.

It remains important to report deep potholes, as the contract for repair in 28 days is still in place. It is best to report online; Lincolnshire County Council website, top right, “report a highways fault”. Or phone 01522 782070.

It is pretty rare to have all roads in Lincolnshire closed! My daily work on getting the backlog of potholes filled has paled under the load of a drifting blizzard!  What a humdinger St David's Day, the first day of our Acting Chief Executive Richard Wills.  The poor weather put a heavy strain on our public services, and they coped well.

Working children
Did you know that children under 14 and less than year 12 need a work permit issued by the council if working part-time?  For more information contact Miriam Shucksmith on 01522 554990 or CEE@lincolnshire.gov.uk

The government has set the rules against us and in favour of the developers. Some party members do not find it easy to challenge as they know the underlying objective is to get more houses built. The costs on us and stretching of services to breaking point cannot be allowed to continue.  If we cannot afford to build the houses and provide what is needed for those residents, in a sustainable way, then why do it?

Consulting on Key Planning Applications
You can comment on live applications - http://planningonline.n-kesteven.gov.uk/online-applications/

Garden Waste
Composting at home means you get to keep the nutrients in your garden. Or the District Council will do a fortnightly collection for £30/year. To rejoin call 01529 414155 during working hours or www.n-kesteven.gov.uk/gardenwaste - they also have a good value service to remove large items

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