Skip to: Navigation | Main Content | Additional Content

Quick Links


Agenda item

Councillor Ashley Baxter

This Council agrees:

 

1)    Grantham needs a Town Council distinct and separate to the District Council

 

This Council resolves:

 

2)    To consult residents of Grantham and the wider District, as well as other relevant stakeholders, regarding the formation of a Town Council for Grantham

3)    To undertake a Community Governance Review for the purpose of establishing a Grantham Town Council.

Minutes:

Decision:

 

This Council agrees that should a Unitary Authority be formed in Lincolnshire that 

1)   Grantham needs a Town Council distinct and separate to the Unitary Authority

2)   To consult residents of Grantham and the wider District, as well as other relevant stakeholders, regarding the formation of a Town Council for Grantham

 

3)   To undertake a Community Governance Review for the purpose of establishing a Grantham Town Council

 

Councillor Baxter proposed his motion:

 

This Council agrees:

 

1)    Grantham needs a Town Council distinct and separate to the District Council

 

This Council resolves:

 

2)    To consult residents of Grantham and the wider District, as well as other relevant stakeholders, regarding the formation of a Town Council for Grantham

 

3)    To undertake a Community Governance Review for the purpose of establishing a Grantham Town Council.

 

In presenting his motion, Councillor Baxter expressed a belief that the lack of a town council for Grantham left a democratic gap for the town’s residents. He explained that he had submitted a motion to this end in November 2017, but withdrew it when a similar motion was submitted by another Councillor. This was subsequently withdrawn, which meant that the issue was not discussed. He referred to planning applications that were considered by the Development Management Committee, which included comments from the local town or parish council providing a local perspective; this was absent from applications relating to Grantham. He suggested that residents of Grantham should be given the opportunity to express what they thought of the role of the Charter Trustees or whether they would prefer to see a different body.

 

He also made comments about the vibrancy of the town and parish councils in the Deepings, citing examples where those bodies had taken action to support local people, specifically mentioning Deepings Youth Centre and the Deepings Library.

 

The motion was seconded.

 

Some Members referred to previous occasions when Grantham residents had been asked about the creation of a town council. Those Members reported that the support they had experienced had been limited, with public meetings attracting only a small number of attendees, which they considered indicated a lack of appetite. A suggestion was made that instead of an additional tier of local Government, the residents of Grantham could be served equally well by a Grantham Committee set up under the umbrella of the District Council.

 

Those Members who spoke in support of the motion suggested that poor attendance at meetings could have been because of the way in which they were publicised. Reference was also made to a poll on the issue that had previously been conducted; one Member spoke of their experience, stating that they had seen no publicity to indicate that the poll was taking place. The general consensus of those Members that supported the proposition was that, just because interest had been limited in the past, the population was changing, together with its views, meaning it would be appropriate to ask again.

 

An amendment to the motion was proposed and seconded:

 

This Council agrees that should a Unitary Authority be formed in Lincolnshire that 

1)    Grantham needs a Town Council distinct and separate to the Unitary Authority

2)    To consult residents of Grantham and the wider District, as well as other relevant stakeholders, regarding the formation of a Town Council for Grantham

3)    To undertake a Community Governance Review for the purpose of establishing a Grantham Town Council

 

The proposer of the amendment referred to historic polls that had tested the appetite for a town council in Grantham. He suggested that he would be supportive of such a proposition if District Council was abolished and replaced with a unitary authority. Alternatively he said that he would be supportive if residents of Grantham came forward with a petition requesting a Community Governance Review. The proposition was seconded.

 

Members sought clarification about whether the amendment was acceptable or whether it negated the original proposition. Clarification was given that the amendment qualified the original motion by adding to it.

 

A number of Members spoke against the amendment. Reference was made to the previous motion that had been submitted and withdrawn to allow Members from across the Chamber to develop wording that would be agreeable to all parties. Some Members expressed dissent about the spirit in which the amendment had been raised.

 

Members speaking against the amendment spoke further about the activities of their local town and parish councils and the additional services that they provided, which were provided in Grantham by SKDC. A question was asked whether the lack of a town council in Grantham meant that residents from other parts of the district were subsidising services for Grantham residents that might otherwise be provided by a town or parish council.

 

One Member suggested it would be advantageous if Grantham had a town council as it would provide a central point through which community campaigns could be led, providing a more organised response than multiple single-issue campaigns.

 

Members who spoke against the amendment, highlighted that the initial intention of the original proposition was to find out whether there was an appetite for the formation of a town council, rather than simply imposing one.

 

17:18 – In accordance with article 4.6.4 of the Council’s Constitution, Members were advised that the meeting had been in progress for three hours. It was proposed, seconded and on being put to the vote, agreed, that the meeting should be extended for 15 minutes to allow the conclusion of business.

 

A number of further Members spoke, stating that they would not be able to support the amendment, reiterating comments that had been made earlier in the debate.

 

Councillor Baxter, as the proposer of the original motion, was given the opportunity to sum up on the amendment. In so doing he encouraged Members to vote against the amendment. He highlighted the subjectivity of numbers and suggested that the figures referred to during the meeting and cited as a lack of interest may not provide a fair reflection of public opinion.

 

The amendment was put to the vote and carried, making it the new substantive motion. A vote was taken on the substantive motion, which was carried.