Lincolnshire - A fantastic year ahead

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We have a wonderful year to look forward to, both in our Cathedral city and in our own villages to the north.

Over the last five years, your County Council has obtained in access of £20M, in all manner of grants and from its own resources, to rebuild Duke William’s royal castle, in time for the celebration of 800 years since Magna Charta (and its sister document Charter of the Forest) from the spring next year- the tourist spin-off to Lincoln and the surrounding area should give our lovely county town the boost it needs and deserves to open up England’s great undiscovered historic gem.

This, coupled with the start of the £100M relief roads starting this autumn (planned opening 2017), should be a tremendous opening up of the City’s facilities providing that parking places, and the appalling cost of parking, can be addressed.

This autumn will see the official launch of the £140M Energy from Waste plant, although already in full production and processing Lincolnshire’s black bin non recyclables. Our residents are among the best recyclers at 53 % nationwide, but we still need to deal with 150,000 tons of black bin rubbish. We expect this plant should save around £3M a year within three years.

I am no longer the responsible councillor for waste services, or part of the Council Executive, which will give me more time to concentrate on helping at West Lindsey, and with the concerns of our residents and parish councils.

The government has decided that the county council will have to find further cuts, this time £90M over the next few years, on top of £120M already saved -in total Lincolnshire has lost nearly 20% of its core funding over the last five years. Under Councillor Martin Hill’s leadership, the council will cope with this - the answer to ‘how’ will become apparent during this next year!

Despite all this, council tax has been frozen and Lincolnshire - I am reliably told - charges ratepayers the second lowest council tax in England and some £200 per family less than most counties, whilst receiving only half of the rate support grant that some London authorities receive. I am aware we do not benefit from some of the services that these authorities enjoy, but that is the same in all the sparsely populated counties in England and Wales.

The consolation is fresh air and big skies, which I know do not pay any bills, but I believe we should fight to protect them against the imposition of giant wind farms at Hemswell cliff and Corringham , or elsewhere. The weakness of the coalition government has allowed these totally ineffective monstrosities to spread across much of Rural Britain.

Last November, the WLDC planners throughout the Hemswell cliff application (largely thanks to the VOCAT group’s work on this,) needless to say they have gone to appeal. I am totally committed to fight against these farms, including around Corringham, that simply make a small number of people (including the foreign energy firm) very wealthy at our expense.

Single smaller turbines, tied directly to an agricultural holding are another matter,I do have problems with single speculative ones as they have a habit of breeding, especially in the open countryside !

Our Schools are, as usual doing really well in the division, our primaries at Corringham, Hemswell cliff, Normanby, Osgodby, Middle Rasen, Waddingham and Willoughton, Grasby and North Kelsey, continue to educate some really bright and enthusiastic youngsters, and this would not be possible without the hard work that our teachers continually provide, they are unsung heroes, many working as my son does in the secondary sector, over sixty hours per week.

We have worked very hard against ACIS decision to remove full time Wardens from Braemar court and at least have a commitment to visiting ones.

Pot holes –I here you cry! The county council is getting on top of these and we are getting far fewer noted, but parishes and residents must report them as soon as possible, also new technology to speed the process and make the repair permanent is now being implemented.

We are solving flooding hot spots across the county, Waddinghams, serious flooding problem has been solved, Rasen, and Osgodby are being worked on as I write. As you know we share responsibilities with West Lindsey district council, and this is a really good news story, where the new Leader Cllr Jeff Summers and his team of Members and Officers, are turning this quite adequate council into a really go ahead organisation, with the finest recycling figures in England and a work force instructed to help residents, weather in planning, benefit, environmental or waste matters.

There is now a joined up approach between the County and West Lindsey’s district council, and I really believe we are moving forward together for the good of all.

Finally can I encourage you to take a stroll in the Wolds, our lovely Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s absolutely free and is a very healthy way of putting the world to rights and in my case trying to shed the odd fraction!

Best wishes to you and yours.

Lewis Strange

Ancholme and the Cliff division-Lincolnshire CC The Kelseys- West Lindsey DC