i) Chairman of Council
ii) Leader of the Council
iii) Chief Executive
In the absence of the Chairman of Council , the Vice-Chairman highlighted to the meeting a few events Councillor England had supported since the last Meeting of Full Council, this included:-
· Reception in the Heritage Centre at RAF Scampton on 11 November -
· A delayed tour of Lea Fields Crematorium on 12 November - for the first charity, St Barnabas, who had received donations from the metal recycling scheme. Ward Member Councillor Mrs Jessie Milne had also been in attendance.
· Remembrance Sunday attendance at two services, All Saints Church in Gainsborough in the morning and All Saints Church in Nettleham in the afternoon
· The Official opening of the new depot at Caenby Corner on 26 November
· The Salvation Army Toy Service in Gainsborough on 12 December
The pandemic had continued to see events interrupted with the Chairman’s Annual Carol Service having again been cancelled, although he had been able to create and distribute video Christmas messages to staff and the community filmed in St Mary’s Church in Welton.
The Leader made the following address to Council: -
“May I begin by congratulating our new colleague, Councillor Jaime Oliver, on her election to the Council; I keenly anticipate working alongside her. It is also most pleasing that we are able to come together in this Chamber once again; the last time we met here was on 2nd March 2020!
This reflects the success to-date of our collective national response to the coronavirus pandemic; the fact that a meeting of the Lincolnshire Outbreak Engagement Board was postponed from last Wednesday to this really speaks volumes. Whilst infection rates remain relatively high, the latest information I have is that Lincolnshire ranks third in England for the take up of booster vaccinations and that there are now only two Covid-19 patients in County intensive care units. Given the lifting this Thursday of the Government’s Plan B restrictions (and our return to Plan A) continued adherence to all official guidance and regular self-testing will remain vital tools to help keep one another and our communities safe and to protect our valued National Health Service.
The ten upper-tier Councils in Lincolnshire have been working collaboratively in preparation for the imminent publication of the Government’s ambitious Levelling Up White Paper, which will include a strategy for devolved decision-making. This presents an opportunity to reset the relationship between central and Local Government and to give councils more power to deliver effectively on behalf of the areas and communities they serve. Our aim is to achieve the early submission of a compelling case for devolved powers for the historic area we represent. Not to do so would, without doubt, be regarded as a huge missed opportunity to build a better future.
Officers in the Joint Planning Unit are presently preparing the submission draft of the new Central Lincolnshire Local Plan informed by representations made during the 2021 consultation. Subject to approval by Committee members at the meeting on Monday, 28th February the document will then be published ready for a further formal six-week public consultation period (Regulation 19) in the spring. Following that, the document will be finalised and submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for its Examination in Public and adoption, expected to be later in 2022.
Preparations are well under way for the introduction of the separate collection of paper and cardboard in West Lindsey, an environmental imperative. New purple-lidded bins will be delivered in March, with the service beginning in April. Copies of the 2022 collection calendar and recycling guide are currently being delivered to every home. These specify the date of commencement, however further detailed information packs will also be provided to further assist householders. New and renewal subscriptions to the Council’s popular green bin service are also welcomed. The material collected is composted and used as a soil improver within the district exemplifying a ‘virtuous circle’.”
Following on from the Leader, the Chief Executive echoed his comments with regard to being able to make a safe return to the Chamber in the Guildhall, taking the opportunity to remind Members they should wear their masks around the building. The Chief Executive confirmed that the District Council alongside a number of Local Government officer groups continued to lobby Government to legalise virtual meetings.
Council were advised that the Authority had been visited by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the previous week. Having viewed the Authority’s arrangements on the ground floor and having spoken at length with the Council’s Health and Safety Officer – the HSE were more than satisfied with the arrangements and mitigations in place. The Chief Executive placed on record his thanks to Simon Hunt, the Health and Safety Officer and all employees for their co-operation in keeping the building and their colleagues safe.
Following the recent relaxation of regulations the Chief Executive advised that employees were again being asked to start and book desks in the Guildhall; this would assist in developing new working patterns that would in-turn assist with identifying the appropriate capacity required in the Guildhall.
Moving on to the Levelling Up Fund Programme, the Chief Executive advised recruitment had commenced for a programme team to deliver this key project for the District and was pleased to confirm that the first round of recruitment had been successful, with six appointments having been made.
Finally, consultation on a new Selective Licensing Scheme had commenced in the month and would remain open until 11 April. Members were asked to encourage all relevant landlords and tenants to engage with the consultation.