Councils - A few points for Mr Keimach

Can I just clarify a few points with regard to Cllr Burt Keimach’s letter, “leave it to the voters”

Regarding De Aston Field and why it took so long to purchase it. First, we couldn’t find out who owned the field, the County Council didn’t know they owned the field.

Secondly, the district council flatly denied they had the section 106 money in their coffers that was set-a-side for the purchase of the field.

Thirdly, the section 106 monies could only be used to purchase and to develop the field, if it wasn’t used for that, the monies would has had to be returned to the developers. So renting was not an option.

West Lindsey held the monies as the planning authority, and did the negotiations with county.

The town council had very little say in the matter, only that the town council wanted a third of the land for the cemetery extension.

This was not part of the section 106 agreement and had to be purchased separately. All this took years to sort out.

There was no flooding issue until a large storage drain pipe was put into the field cutting the underground spring in two. If only they would have talk to local people, this could have been avoided.

As for the cost, the money never went to a private developer. It went to a deserving cause. The people of Lincolnshire, hopefully! (Was it put towards the county councillors allowance increase)?

The asbestos issue remains a thorn in the side of the town council. Could they have handled it differently? Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

They took it on trust that the soil that came onto the site was clean.

At the end of the day they only found about eight small pieces the size of a thumb nail.

I do have concerns on how they got on top of the soil, we’ll just leave it at that. This is part of the whole fly tipping problem.

Lincolnshire County Council has a policy of sorts on the disposal of bonded asbestos for the domestic ratepayer of this county.

Limit is 20kg per time, with only 2 disposals a year allowed. That is equal to about one sheet per year. Average garden shed would have at least 6 sheets.

Up until the 80s asbestos wasn’t thought to be much of a hazard. How many buildings have been demolished with asbestos in them, the material turned into rubble and used on gateways to fields to prevent water logging.

Material picked up on muddy tyres and spread over large areas.

It wasn’t until recently that vehicle brake and clutch linings were made from asbestos, these are now made from a non-asbestos material.

I worked in the motor trade for many years where it was common place to blow off brake dust with an airline.

How many years have you stood at the side of the road breathing in the asbestos dust?

What about ironing boards, how many of you still have your old favourite. Has it got the asbestos pad that you stand the iron on? Every time you put you iron down on this asbestos pad, fibre particles are released into the air.

I had to laugh at Cllr Keimach’s view regarding councillors’ responsibilities. So what he is actually saying is, the councillors run the council.

So why are we spending half a billion pounds on officer’s salaries. Councillors, I as one, are amateurs when it come to running a large council. Just understanding the complexity of finance and audit is something that takes years of full time training.

West Lindsey district council is run on committees. Officers draw up the papers with their recommendations. Remember these are professional people, skilled in their field of work.

The papers are brought to committee meetings for discussion.

We all have the opportunity to ask questions on the things we are not sure of, for clarity only.

We can also turn down these recommendations, but there needs to be a good reason. It happens rarely. All the papers that I have seen have been excellent, comprehensive, well detailed and easy to understand.

Can I just say that the officers at West Lindsey are highly skilled, professional and very polite, even though they get some stick from councillors. With all the government cuts, the officers at West Lindsey rise to the challenge.

As for the worth of parish and town councils! They will be the future of local government, with the push towards Unitary Authorities.

Under UA, either county or district will go. Parish/town council will take on more of the local services, such as looking after public toilets, street lighting, street cleaning, car parks, I could go on. Market Rasen Town Council already looks after playing fields and parks, festival hall, public seating, market place………..

At the moment parish/town councillors receive no allowance, will this change when they take on the extra work? I hope not!

Coun Ken Bridger

Town & District Councillor