A 45-minute period in which members may ask questions of the Leader, Cabinet Members, the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and opposition group leaders excluding the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Development Management Committee, Licensing and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committees and Governance and Audit Committee.
Councillor Wootten referred to a proposal that had been refused by Westminster Council to erect a bronze statue of Margaret Thatcher. He asked the Deputy Leader whether he would join Councillor Wootten in sending a message to the Leader of Westminster Council to say that the statue would be welcomed in Grantham. The Deputy Leader stated that if the statue would be available for free, then the Council should take advantage of it. He added that regardless of what people thought of her politics, her achievement of becoming the first female Prime Minister should be recognised.
Councillor Baxter had previously asked a question about leisure facilities in the Deepings, after which the Leader had announced plans for a new leisure centre, the development of which was expected to commence in 2020. He stated that during term-time there were only two hours in the working week when members of the public could swim. He asked whether the Leader would work with officers and the school to find a solution to optimise the use of the existing centre and to develop an exit strategy for when the new facility was in place. The Leader reminded members that there was currently a contract that governed the school’s use of the facility. He stated that as plans were being brought forward he would work with the school and Council officers to discuss access requirements. He informed members that the existing facility was used a great deal by the school and clubs, which showed the huge demand from the public and education sectors.
Councillor Forman asked what plans the Council had made to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act. The Leader stated that he was not immediately aware of any plans but he had seen a paper which referred to some work that was being done. He referred to centenary events to commemorate the end of the First World War of which there were quite a few, however they had not been pulled together. To help ensure that any such commemorative events were better co-ordinated, the Cabinet Member for Retail and Visitor Economy was taking a lead.
Councillor Selby referred to a question that he had asked at the Council meeting on 23 November 2017, which related to the disposal of abandoned bicycles that had been collected by the Council. The Leader apologised that a response to this question had not yet been issued.
Following the recent re-location of one of Market Deeping’s main shops to Deeping St. James, Councillor Judy Stevens asked about the progress of plans to hold a Saturday market in Market Deeping to ensure that the town stayed as buoyant as possible. The Cabinet Member for Retail and Visitor Economy stated that there was an opportunity to investigate a Saturday market and initial submissions had been made to Lincolnshire County Council Highways, which was beginning consultation with shop owners about the potential road closure. He informed Members that that the consultation could last between 6 and 18 months, however there was the potential for a market to begin in the Market Square, which was being pushed forward.
Councillor Peter Stephens asked whether the Council supported the erection of a statue of Margaret Thatcher outside the Council Offices. The Leader of the Council stated that the Conservative group wished to see a statue but added that it was an emotive issue. He added that he thought it was important to mark the fact that a daughter of Grantham went on to become the country’s first female Prime Minister. The Leader also stated that there were some amazing people who had come from Grantham and he did not feel that the town made the most of publicising its links with those people.
Councillor Chivers asked whether there were any plans in place to celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of the Royal Air Force. He was advised by the Cabinet Member for Retail and Visitor Economy that a programme was being drawn up, which included a range of events that would run from April to November 2018. He added that when the programme had been finalised, a copy would be circulated to Members.
Councillor Broughton referred to a Council newsletter from 2005 which included an article on a composting scheme. Following the purchase of the bin for £10, membership of the scheme was then free of charge and included the opportunity for the Council to buy back the compost. He referred to a proposed increase to the charges for the green bin scheme and asked that when it came to setting the fees next year for consideration to be given to those older residents who could not afford the cost of the scheme.
The Cabinet Member for Environment said that he had looked into the composting scheme; despite a good initial uptake, people did not take to it. He also explained that when setting the fee for the green bin scheme, the cost of delivering the service had been reviewed. The main driver was the price of fuel, the cost of which had increased. The Cabinet Member stated that delivery costs would be considered during the year when the charges were reviewed, adding that he hoped that there would not be further fuel charge increases. He advised Members that with regard to green waste collection, South Kesteven remained one of the cheapest Councils in the country. He also added that if the service delivery costs went down, then the Council would look at reducing the charges.