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 Planning Committee, Licensing and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committees and Governance and Audit Committee.
Question 1 – Councillor Charmaine Morgan to The Leader of the Council
Councillor Morgan noted the upcoming relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions on 19 July 2021, as set out by the Government and asked how Council leadership would be protecting staff and service users following this.
The Leader of the Council advised that although some staff had returned to working in the offices, Council guidance would remain that staff should work from home where possible. Covid-19 safety measures, such as social distancing, mask wearing and sanitising of surfaces, would remain in place.
The Leader confirmed that a protocol would be sent out and would also be available online, outlining how the Council would be operating. At the present time, in the context of rising Covid-19 cases across the Country, it was of great importance to conduct business as safely as possible.
Question 2 – Councillor Ashley Baxter to The Deputy Leader of the Council
Councillor Baxter noted that The Deputy Leader of the Council had recently sent a communication to residents of The Deepings explaining that the funds and land had been agreed for a new leisure centre. Clarification was sought regarding the authorisation of those funds and if the use of the land had been agreed by both the County Council and the Deepings Forum.
The Deputy Leader of the Council confirmed that discussions regarding the leisure centre were ongoing and that there was no further information at present.
Question 3 – Councillor Phil Dilks to The Deputy Leader of the Council
Councillor Dilks enquired as to when the new leisure centre in The Deepings would be opening.
The Deputy Leader of the Council advised that work regarding the leisure centre was ongoing and that an update would be brought to the Council later in the year.
Question 4 – Councillor Amanda Wheeler to The Cabinet Member for Planning and Planning Policy
Councillor Wheeler asked a question about the development on Stamford quarry site. Councillor Wheeler queried residents of Rutland would be accessing the area, however, SKDC would not benefit from their Council Tax payments.
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Planning Policy stated that he would be happy to meet with Councillor Wheeler and discuss any concerns outside of the meeting.
Question 5 – Councillor Penny Milnes to The Leader of the Council
Councillor Milnes referred to a letter all Members had received from the Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. A concern was raised relating to the proposal to remove the rights of local residents to reject individual planning applications in their area.
The Leader agreed that the proposals needed to be considered but advised that they would ensure more engagement in local democracy, rather than less.
Question 6 – Councillor Philip Knowles to The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property
Councillor Knowles referred to the recent meeting of the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee which had discussed the Council’s Assisted Garden Maintenance Scheme. Councillor Knowles enquired as to why the number of gardens involved in the scheme had reduced by 10% per annum over the last two years, whilst the projected costs of the scheme were planned to increase by 130% year on year. Councillor Knowles requested details be provided relating to the breakdown of the costs and asked which account EnvironmentSK Ltd place any revenue received from the scheme into. The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations responded that the HRA covers the gardens for the Council’s properties and that they had been approached by the Council’s grounds maintenance provider to provide a quotation for the Assisted Garden Maintenance Scheme. He noted that in the past, there had existed some cross subsidy but that the pricing had been redone, based on market rates. It was noted that the work associated with the Scheme was labour intensive and so costs were therefore high.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property confirmed that the details requested would be provided to the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee at a future meeting. He noted that there had been a change to the criteria associated with the costs, as well as a change to the criteria associated with the number of people who would be assisted by the scheme. A review was currently being undertaken within housing services relating to what services would be charged for.
Question 7 – Councillor Paul Wood to The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations
Councillor Wood asked if there were any plans to upgrade the Council’s street lighting, as most of the streetlights were not LED. Councillor Wood referred to the fact that Lincolnshire County Council had upgraded many of their streetlights and asserted that it was essential that the Council follow suit as LED lighting provided better value in the long term.
The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations expressed his delight that a contract had been authorised for LED streetlighting upgrades to commence across the District. This would involve a rolling programme taking place over seven years and would provide greater reduction in energy use. It also confirmed that the Council would be phasing out sodium lights that were still part of existing maintenance contracts.
Question 8 – Councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing to The Deputy Leader of the Council
Councillor Bisnauthsing noted that it been over two years since information had been sent across Stamford regarding the opening of a new leisure centre. It was requested that The Deputy Leader of the Council set out a schedule for when the new leisure centre.
The Deputy Leader of the Council stated that due to ongoing discussions, a schedule was not able to be provided.
Question 9 – Councillor Ian Selby to the Leader of the Council
Councillor Selby noted that the 2020The UEFA European Championship had given much pleasure to people living across the District. In response to this he asked whether the the Leader would offer his congratulations to the England Football Team and also condemn the racist abuse which some of the team had experienced. It was suggested that this could be done via a letter sent to the England Manager, Gareth Southgate.
The Leader confirmed that he would send a letter to Gareth Southgate, England Manager, to both congratulate the England Team as well as condemn the racism which some of the team had endured.
Question 10 – Councillor Ray Wootten to The Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities
Councillor Wootten requested an update be provided on the SK Community Awards.
The Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities noted that the SK Community Awards had first launched on the first of June and that the closing date was on Sunday 18 June 2021. During that time, 108 nominations had been received from across the District. The winners were to be announced later in the year.
Question 11 – Councillor Mark Whittington to The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations
Councillor Whittington enquired as to whether there would be an update on issue of fly tipping across the District.
The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations noted that fly tipping incidences had decreased and hoped that would remain the case. The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations noted that he was encouraged that this matter had been widely discussed during Lincolnshire Waste Partnership meetings.
Question 12 – Councillor Lee Steptoe to The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property
Councillor Steptoe thanked the recently appointed Director for Housing and Property, stating that he had been constructive and honest about concerns around housing issues in the Grantham Earlesfield Ward.
Councillor Steptoe raised a concern that over 1,500 people were currently on the waiting list to be provided with a Council House. He referred to the introduction of a Choice Based Letting Scheme, which had recently been agreed by Cabinet. It was requested that The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property explain the concept of the Choice Based Letting System to The Council.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property responded by explaining the Choice Based Lettings Scheme, stating that the purpose of introducing such a scheme was to improve how newly available social housing properties in the District were allocated. The Cabinet Member for Housing Property noted that a move to this scheme would not alleviate housing pressures but would allow for greater choice and better suitability for service users.
Question 13 – Councillor Helen Crawford to The Council
Councillor Crawford, with the Chairman’s permission, expressed disappointment that only five Members of The Council out of a possible 56 had attended a recent training session on Modern Slavery. Councillor Crawford stated that it was important that everyone attend these training sessions, especially when on such crucial issues.