Agenda item

i)             Chairman of Council

ii)            Leader of the Council

iii)           Chief Executive





The Chairman started his announcements advising that Civic commitments for obvious reasons continued to be limited.  He was hopeful for more positive times ahead due to the successful vaccine rollout.  However the Chairman had had the pleasure of supporting the Armed Forces Charity, who would usually hold a local event at Hemswell Court.  This year the event had taken place virtually, and had been a national event. 


The Chairman had also joined the Leader of the Council in a visit to the vaccination centre at the Lincolnshire Showground. Both had been tested on entry, providing negative results, before both then having the opportunity to see behind the scenes and thank all involved for their amazing efforts to deliver a successful roll-out.





The Leader made the following address to Council: -


“To begin with the coronavirus pandemic, or more specifically the recovery from it, it is hugely reassuring to note that progress is still in full alignment with the roadmap originally set out by Government.  The vaccination programme continues to be delivered at pace and scale with increasing focus on second doses for older age groups and with younger economically active ages being invited for their first appointments.  Thinking around self-testing using lateral flow devices has evolved to make the kits much more widely available with people encouraged to collect a supply and to adopt their own testing routine.  The devices are simple to use and hugely valuable for the reassurance they provide as well as for the data.   


May I take this opportunity to thank the team for the remarkable work they have done so far in preparation for the delivery of a Covid-safe Elections day on Thursday, 6th May?  Whilst more electors than usual may opt for a postal or proxy vote others will undoubtedly prefer to follow the traditional route of visiting a polling station, many of them in buildings that have been either fully or partially closed since the announcement of the initial lockdown last year.  Members will be aware that the regulations allowing Council meetings to be held remotely are due to expire on 6th May.  There is a legal challenge, to be heard in the High Court, seeking an extension beyond that date and having implications for all tiers of local government.


I’m delighted that, in March, Lea Fields Crematorium received a prestigious and highly regarded Civic Trust Award for ‘demonstrating excellence in architecture and design, whilst being sustainable, accessible and providing a positive civic contribution’.  This adds to the award last year of ‘Best Service Team of the Year: Cemetery and Crematorium Services’ by APSE, the Association of Public Service Excellence.  It again reflects great credit on all those involved in the delivery, opening and running of the facility, which is genuinely an initiative that the District Council collectively can take enormous pride in.  


On 3rd March the Chancellor announced two new grant schemes, the UK Community Renewal Fund (CRF) and the Levelling Up Fund (LUF) to which Councils are invited to apply before the first round deadline of 18th June.  The CRF is a forerunner to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (due to be introduced in 2023) however both funds are intended to assist those areas at risk of being left behind.  Importantly they create a direct relationship between government and those local areas with a desire to move at pace to effect change.  West Lindsey is listed as a Priority 2 area and accordingly work is already underway both within the district and with our partners in Lincolnshire to produce a compelling, well-evidenced and strong application.


Finally Chairman, Members will be aware that our own new grant schemes to support businesses and help to promote sustainable economic recovery are being finalised for their launch.  Whilst I recognise that much remains to be done and will be done on behalf of those we represent, my heartfelt thanks go to each and every one of you, to our colleagues in local government and to all of our partners in the community for what has been achieved and delivered so far.”     



Chief Executive


The Chief Executive addressed Council and commenced with a Covid Update as follows: -


Covid infections as at the 4th April, 54 cases across the District. The Infection rate for the District was 48.1 per 100,000, England’s comparable rate was 40.9 per 100,000, and the rate for Lincolnshire as a whole was 48.2 per 100,000.  The Over 60’s infection rate had fallen from 111.8 per 100,000 to 9.9 per 100,000 with the England average of 10.8per 100,000.  A testing centre had been opened within Gainsborough and plans were well underway for a second centre in Market Rasen.


The Chief Executive was pleased to confirm to Members two appointments he had recently made;  the appointment of James O’Shaughnessy to the post of Head of Policy, Strategy and Sustainable Environment and the appointment of Emma Redwood to the role of Assistant Director of People and Governance.


Personal condolences were offered to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal family. Thanks were paid to the civic team and colleagues for responding swiftly on Friday and ensuring that West Lindsey District Council responded well and met all our responsibilities.


The Chief Executive concluded his announcements, with the pleasure of announcing the Crematorium which opened in February 2020, had won a fourth award. He placed on record his thanks to the team for the work they were doing, with special thanks to Celia Chapman and Trudi Hayes who had become qualified to operate the cremator over the last twelve months.