Cross Keys Swing Bridge, Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire


Sutton Bridge Parish Council
Archived Meetings News for 2015

Oct 262015

Held at The Curlew Centre on 13th October 2015

This was definitely a most extraordinary Parish Council meeting.  The subject matter being the granting of Planning Permission by the Secretary of State for a second gas fired power station adjacent to the power station presently sitting next to the River Nene in Sutton Bridge and to consider whether it would be viable for the Village to go for a Judicial Review. 

South Holland District Council also have allowed this project to go through, though one doubts if they understand all the implications involved in this renewal of the original Planning Application which has changed beyond all expectations.  It would appear that if they do not understand these matters, they just vote it through without involving someone who could look at and understand such applications in detail.

When it is a simple matter of a child’s playhouse being built without proper authority and a neighbour objected, it had be demolished.  Here in Sutton Bridge we have a huge number of residents against the proposed second Power Station but their opinions count for nothing.

While it is understood that outline Planning Permission was sought way back in 2005 for a second power station, nothing actually appeared to happen.  It is also the writer’s understanding that if a Planning Permission is not formally processed within a period of 5 years it becomes null and void. 

Where is the need for another power station in this area with one not a great distance away in King’s Lynn that has been decommissioned?  We are also surrounded by wind turbines, both commercial and privately owned.  Increasingly local residents are also having solar panels installed on their roofs to produce electricity, not only for themselves but excess going to the National Grid.  It is not as though Sutton Bridge is a large industrial area heavily dependent on a source of electrical power.

But I digress.  The meeting, held at The Curlew Centre in the room directly above the Parish Council office, was opened by the Chairman, and the initial formalities attended to.  There are quite a few new faces present on the Parish Council but where were the more familiar faces on this particular evening? I speak of our two District Councillors, one is a member of the Planning Committee and the other a Ward member, able to speak at Planning Committee Meetings, although not able to vote.  Do they not have their parishioners’ interests at heart?  Perhaps there were extenuating circumstances which prevented them from attending, we the public were not informed.

Cllr. John Grimwood, Chairman, advised the gallery of the exorbitant costs a Judicial Review could involve, being far more than the costs for the same for the Incinerator/Gasifier and those councillors present would consider the subject. It was obvious from the beginning that many of those present in the gallery had a lot of questions to ask and so the procedure to suspend Standing Orders was meticulously followed.  Many pointed questions were posed as well as opinions freely expressed. When the time came for the Parish Council to go into Closed Session, it was they who diplomatically left the room to convene in the Parish Council office, leaving those in the gallery in the capable hands of Colin Blundell.  Colin then gave us a disturbing, but nonetheless humorous synopsis of his and Brian Collins-McDougall’s research into the renewed application for the second power station, as well as an understanding of the Secretary Of State’s agreement. 

When the Councillors returned to the room, it was with regret we learned of their decision not to pursue the matter through the Parish, as they could not take the responsibility for putting the village into a possibly considerable debt or bankruptcy.

There are, no doubt, still an enormous number of questions concerning the validity of this Planning Application to be answered and the only way to get these answers is to get everyone motivated.  Surely our village deserves better consideration than it is currently being given. 

For myself I find it most gratifying that people like Colin and Brian, together with the other members of their committee, are working so hard for all of us, and also to note several younger members of the community who were in attendance at this meeting that they were willing to get involved in any useful way they can.

Despite the Parish Council’s decision not to fund a judicial review, one still has hopes and faith in the people who are ready to take up the fight.

Eileen Faires
Oct. 2015


This is what Colin Blundell said in order to fill the gap while the Parish Council considered the prospects for opting to go for a Judicial Review:-

Certain kinds of politicians and people whose only ambition is to make money at the expense of the rest of us know that memories are short and that the majority are only really interested in who’s going to win the World Cup. There’s only a few dedicated (or mad) people who are prepared to spend time sifting tedious reports to keep tabs on what goes on behind the scenes.

The Secretary of State (SOS) is happy to dump another power station on us hoping us country bumpkins won’t notice and maybe won’t care anyway. They know very well that we’re too busy making ends meet to bother. How are we to make sense of what’s going on? Where do we start?

One place to start might be to consider the meeting of SHDC Planning Committee on 27th  August 2014. In correspondence, after the event the chairman (Gambba-Jones) admitted that members didn’t really know enough to make a properly considered decision. So they didn’t know what was going on either. Gambba-Jones intimated that the Objectors knew even less, forgetting that they knew quite enough to get the Incinerator proposal overturned though of course the Planning Committee failed to acknowledge this.

If SHDC had simply said they didn’t have enough information to make a proper decision on  EDF B the SOS would have had to call a public enquiry as a large number of SB residents had asked. But the chairman Gammba-Jones who claims to be neutral (as chairmen ought to be) said they couldn’t hang around all night debating: he said...

...we want this thing to go through... We have to recognise that Government policy is for the greater good. We have to recognise that local concerns have to be overruled for the benefit of the whole country...

The official Minutes said: ‘Members debated the matter and fully explored the details of the application in the light of prevailing policies and guidance; which included taking into account the views expressed by both the applicants and public speakers.’

Those present at the meeting will tell you that this is so far from the truth that one is inclined to call it a falsification of reality – a lie in other words. There was no substantial debate, no full exploration of anything.

But the problem is how to challenge both SHDC and the SOS who should not have based her decision on such a flawed process as SHDC engaged in. What are the legal issues? What makes a legal issue?

That SHDC falsified the minutes was dishonest is very regrettable but it doesn’t constitute a legal issue. Not something we can go for Judicial Review over.

What does constitute a legal issue? - something that’s not been covered  properly in the small print.

An example might be the choice of siting of the proposed power station in a Grade 3 flood plain which is against government policy. SOS just accepted EDF’s statement that no other sites are available. So it’s now OK to build a second power station on a flood plain on the grounds that it’s necessary in order to ‘keep the lights on’. Never mind that the existing power station is often switched off because of lack of demand.

To add insult to injury, the SOS says that the objectors have not suggested alternative sites. So it’s our fault that we’re being dumped on.

 But here’s the crunch! We discover that EDF has owned the proposed site all along so why would they or anybody bother to find another site?  EDF have owned the site all along but didn’t let on.

Is that a legal issue? It’s a considerable lack of transparency but probably not a legal issue.

A planning committee member expressed the arrogant view that SB residents would be placated by the 50 conditions imposed on EDF when they make the financial decision to go ahead. BUT planning officer Jackson said that they don’t have enough staff to ensure that the many conditions imposed on the developers will be enforced. They failed to enforce a condition to develop infrastructure on the Wingland area on the first power station- why should we expect anything different now?

From the Decision Letter it’s clear that SOS will say it’s up to us to chivvy SHDC over this to make sure it happens so that’s not a legal issue. Just passing the buck.

EDF B will dominate the local flat landscape and be visible for miles around forming an unattractive backdrop to Sutton Bridge and its historic Victorian swing bridge. Thought SHDC clearly consider it to be the bum end of Lincolnshire, Sutton Bridge ought to be known as the gateway to Lincolnshire. As such, it is not a suitable location for this huge power station. A legal issue?  Probably not...

The SOS opines that suitable leafy screening and embankments will hide it away. Pointless but not a legal issue.

The SOS is aware that the Company has entered into a legal agreement with SHDC dated 24th June 2015 for the provision & maintenance of offsite air quality equipment...’ An SHDC Officer can’t find any trace of a Local Air Quality Action Plan that this might imply. Is that a legal issue? SOS will simply it’s up to us to get them to produce a Plan. Not her problem.

 Gas fired power stations are heavily polluting industries that contribute to the cumulative emissions in an area. EDF B will have three 80 metre stacks out of which will come Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen Oxide, Sulphur Dioxide and particulatematter – minute particles that by-pass the body’s natural defences entering directly in to the lungs. There is no safe level of exposure to the smallest of these particles. That’s a health issue and therefore our Human Rights are being infringed. A legal issue?

Under EU regulations the developer is supposed to install a carbon capture facility but it says it will only do so when it’s technically/economically viable. SOS is happy that such concerns can be addressed by Environmental permits and the application of planning conditions so that’s not a legal issue.

The plans submitted by the EDF are vague and lack exact detail about what will be built. The detailed design and layout has not been completed. They want flexibility. The cooling technologies to be used remain unspecified – one method for cooling could involve using water from the River Nene which will be put back in the river at who knows what temperature?.

How could any sensible Council reach a decision before they actually knew the precise layout of the proposed building or its internal functioning? Would you be allowed to build a house on that basis?

The SOS thinks that SHDC will exercise proper control over the details of the development so that’s not a legal issue. Nor is its stretched staffing levels.

Perhaps the most likely area for a Judicial Review is that EDF were not required to submit a new planning application but are ‘piggy backing’ on planning permission awarded in 2005 for a much smaller 1260 MW power station. Now, it’s supposed to be of national importance so the Secretary of State can decide on the application without a formal planning application.

So much has changed since 2005.

Maybe that’s a legal issue under the heading of which so much of the previous issues can be incorporated.

We need to hire solicitors who have the time & expertise to see through all this rigmarole and give us some advice on whether a Judicial Review is feasible.

We can provide much evidence. It has to be remembered that the Incinerator would have been passed had SHDC asked the questions which we asked months before. When they finally did ask what we regarded as the right questions PREL disappeared unable to give satisfactory answers.

The Parish Council has a duty to get the right questions asked for the sake of us all.

CB 13/10/2015


The Parish Council had set up a Working Party to consider the next steps and they are currently collecting data and working out a strategy.

25th October 2015

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Mar 42015

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 24th February 2015


Comments in blue are, as usual, observations emanating from the Public Gallery.

Cllrs Hills, Giles & M Booth absent

Public Forum

Overhanging fir trees, 5ft square hole in West Bank, crack – likely to get bigger – fly-tipping, dog mess on Bridge Road, rubbish in the churchyard – it is hoped that people will take their own rubbish home with them.

How to convey all this to residents? There does not seem to be any 'civic pride' in Sutton Bridge – the 'dumb dumpers' do not think twice about chucking stuff in the verges up East Bank, for instance. Where there is mess, mess becomes the norm. How do other Parish Councils tackle the problem? How can SHDC help?

4. Police Matters

Cllr Brewis mumbled something about speeding on Bridge Road.

He conveniently forgets that he and his associates wasted public money on getting rid of the bollards which it was admitted had had the unintended effect of slowing traffic down (see reference to the 'Road Enhancement Scheme' on the Home Page)

The Clerk read a report from PCSO Cardillo

• Bridge Hotel broken into again
• Gents loos at Curlew Centre vandalised
• Lorries parking on West Bank
• Rogue traders in the area

5&6. Chairman's Remarks & Clerk's report

• Clearing of shrubs on the A17 has revealed vast amounts of litter
• DONG to do trenching rather than Drilling – this will entail cutting the sea-bank as before
• Dumping in Lime Street
• Football Club Committee offer of support & help in restoration of pavilion
• Snowdrops on Arnie Broughton Walk – knotweed almost clear

7. District Councillor Report

Cllr Brewis spoke and the Chairman asked him to speak up but he makes no attempt to project his voice or make sure that 'the public' can hear what he is saying. No doubt what he says would be useful if he could learn to address those few of us who bother to turn up at PC meetings. As it is, it is something of an insult that he carry on as he does.

Financial Matters

8c. New Village Sign was admired. Because it had cost more than anticipated, it was proposed to pay the fabricators and additional payment of £200. Cllr Brewis proposed that the payment should be £195 in order for the final payment be less than the next nearest quotation.

9. Correspondence

a (i) Anglian Water van obstruction (continuing saga and dangerous). Company say that no law is being broken. A site visit by all authorities is needed.

So the problem will be ignored until there's an accident. The exit from New Road is very dangerous when the van is parked.

a (ii) Christmas Lights. Letter from resident saying that SB is like a black hole without festive lights. Cllr Scarlett said he could resurrect his previous proposal (of two or three years ago). The subject of the installation of lights on the Green and the Curlew Centre would be put on the June Agenda

What about 'Austerity' then?

10. Planning Matters

(i) H10-0290-12 Wind Turbine Little Sutton PC opposes. Cllr S Booth said enough is enough. Agreed to liaise with Little Sutton...

H18-1013-14 Leesons car parking request OK – but, repeat, not commercial vehicles

(ii) Appeal H18-0462-14 Retrospective Construction of garage at 258 Bridge Road. The intention of this item was to consider rescinding the original objection. Neighbours were supportive of the application but the Inspector had jumped the gun and refused the application before the end of the 8 week period granted to the PC. Resolved to contact the Inspector and inform him of the rescinding.

11. Highways & Footways

Drains on A17 blocked by saplings

12. F(ii) Burial Ground Culvert £17000 out of §106

13. Football Pavilion – new Working Party for refurbishment project to include football club representatives.

15. EPSB (PREL) Incinerator. PREL have not responded to SHDC request for further information to support their application. PC to prompt SHDC to let them know what is going on. Will the Planning Committee be considering PREL's application this month? All top secret apparently.

16. EDF B Power Station Cllr Rowe repeated her position which is that since SHDC have not been doing their job in relation to EDF A – what chance they'll do so in relation to EDF B?

We asked Cllr Rowe about her Freedom of Information request.

Cllr Rowe has been doggedly pursuing a Freedom of Information request with SHDC regarding conditions attached to EDF A. It seems that when the inspector gave permission for the existing gas fired power station he set down 52 conditions, one of them was that 'The commissioning of the development shall not take place until the Company has installed the necessary plant and pipework to supply low grade waste heat to the Site Boundary'. SHDC have confirmed that this condition was not followed up. There's an issue here since the original report said that any default of agreement would have to go back to the Sec of State for Energy. to be determined.

Since SHDC have not made sure that the conditions attaching to EDF A have been applied how can anybody trust them to monitor the conditions applying to EDF B. Th is is a matter of grave concern.

Cllr Rowe had asked for a copy of last year's data relating to emissions which the inspector's report says should be supplied by the Company to SHDC to ensure that the Council are given access to information required for the proper exercise of their functions. Back in November the reply was that '... South Holland District Council does not receive any emissions information from the Power Station. South Holland District Council monitors background air quality on their behalf at Westmere School, Sutton Bridge, and this data is published on the website.

A bit of buck-passing was in evidence: SHDC say that emissions testing from the stacks comes under the remit of the Environment Agency. The Environmental Agency's public register is available via its website...

Cllr Rowe, sticking to her guns, clarified her position:-

1) One of the conditions of the inspector's report states that ' All data relating to emissions into the air from the Development which are supplied by the company to the enforcing authority pursuant to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 or any other relevant legislation, for publication on the register, shall be supplied by the company, as soon as possible after the data becomes available, to the District Council' this is the data I wish to see. I am not referring to data from the air monitor at the Westmere School.

2) You say it appears the pipework condition also set down by the Sec of State did not happen, my question was who was responsible for making sure the condition was adhered to?

SHDC supposed that the condition Cllr Rowe was referring to was condition 44 which reads as follows:

'All data relating to emissions into the air from the Development which are supplied by the Company to the enforcing authority pursuant to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 or any other relevant legislation, for publication on the public register, shall be supplied by the Company, as soon as possible after the data become available to the District Council, English Nature and the RSPB except where any party has informed the Company in writing that it does not wish the Company to supply all or part of such data to it.'

SHDC said: Although we have not found record of the District Council informing the company that it did not wish to receive the data, it is the case that the District Council does not receive the data and therefore is not able to provide it to you.

South Holland District Council is the responsible authority for dealing with the conditions. ... In early February Cllr Rowe pointed out that SHDC had admitted that the inspector said the data must be available to SHDC and expressed her deep concern that it was '...not considered to be a significant issue here '...

Cllr Rowe wondered who exactly who had made that decision and asked why the decision had been made adding that it was quite clear that the inspector felt it was 'significant' as he made it one of his original conditions. Furthermore he stated that a note of any change to those conditions would have to be referred back to him. Have SHDC ever received a notice of change and, if so, was it referred to the inspector?

Another condition the inspector attached to the original permission was that pipework for excess energy should be installed to the boundary of the development. Since we know that this did not happen. Cllr Rowe wanted to know why the deficiency was not referred back to the SoS...

At the February Parish Council meeting Cllr Rowe asked how the public could possibly have any faith in the authority making sure that any conditions are adhered to in the future. She asked what the point was of drawing up conditions to a planning application if they are not followed up?

Meanwhile Cllr Brewis, without an inkling of what WASBPG campaigners in the village have been doing for months, said he was in communication with the Secretary of State. Bully for him.

The public part of the meeting ended at around 8.15 to everybody's relief.

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Jan 302015

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 27th January 2015

Do rabbits have shovels?
The Phantom of Austerity Rides Roughshod Across the Park

Comments in blue are, as usual, observations emanating from the Public Gallery.

Public Forum

There were comments about rubbish & litter – perennial problems...

Mr Fenton talked about protruding manhole covers, dog mess, drains and a dangerous gritting lorry with only one headlight.

Mr Blundell, speaking very quickly in order to fit into what remained of 15 minutes, said he wanted to refer to two things of great significance to Sutton Bridge which appear on the agenda. What he wanted to say was a kind of trailer. Both issues were to be seen in the context of what we're suffering under the dictatorship of lunatic millionaires called a 'government' with their ideological obsession for cutting & slashing & de-regulating everything so that their mates can make a profit. The cutbacks mean that the Environment Agency and Natural England and other bodies no longer have the resources to monitor anything much; deregulation means that anything goes.

Skillfully passing the buck as usual, the government suggests that it's up to Local Councils to allocate resources to monitoring where it's deemed necessary. What will SHDC deem necessary? What resources are they likely to be able to allocate?

That's the context.

Item 21 in the agenda will look at the monitoring of air quality. Cllrs have a handout containing information about how DEFRA propose that 2500 local authority air quality monitoring units be closed recommending that the authorities rely in future on DEFRA's own 137 stations. This, it is said, will help focus on 'hot spots'.

Members of the PC were invited to imagine how much air quality measurement will take place in Sutton Bridge... If SHDC do manage to dump 17 chimneys on us what chance is there of proper air quality management under deregulation & 'austerity' when we become a 'hot spot'? Present experience tells us that SHDC is incompetent when it comes to monitoring anything – they haven't, for instance, [as Cllr Rowe pointed out later] monitored the conditions attaching to Power Station A which have been infringed. [P Jackson of SHDC 'Planning' has lamented the fact that his office is much depleted by cutbacks]

Not to mention fracking – a great polluter – which could be taking place under our houses any time soon.

What will the Parish Council have to say about the DEFRA proposals?

Under Item 10(i), the DONG Race Bank drilling proposals will be discussed. From the reports which Cllrs have no doubt seen, there are four major concerns for Sutton Bridge and the question is, of course – who will do any proper monitoring? The concerns which DONG need to consider are:-

1. From April till the end of August this year it is proposed that drilling start to install 2 or 3 hollow 'ducts' under the foreshore and seawall. They will be left in place, capped at either end, till April 2016 when the weighty cables will be inserted. Considering huge tidal flows and seabed movements, (i) how do we know that the 'ducts' will not become uncapped thus allowing sea water easy ingress into farmland? and (ii) is it not likely that over time the ducts will be moved about under the seawall thus creating loose soil which the sea will easily penetrate. Anybody who has made sandcastles on Hunstanton beach will understand all this. The intended technique is experimental – it has not been used before in this location with its unique characteristics.

2. In order to facilitate drilling hundreds of gallons of fresh water will be required every day. Three ways of getting the water are suggested: (i) to pump it from the Nene which needs a licence, (ii) to get it from an adjacent drainage channel and (iii) to transport it by tankers along East Bank at the rate of 3 in, 3 out, every hour, on days & nights when drilling takes place. DONG say that tanker movements will be scheduled so as not to meet each other on the very narrow roadway but this can't take into account farm traffic, tractors, combine harvesters, domestic vehicles and pantechnicons that often lose their way down East Bank and then there's the everyday problem of negotiating the junction of East Bank and the A17. With such heavy traffic on the manmade bank on the east of the river who knows to what extent the integrity of such a sea defence will not be jeopardised? And who will pay for wear & tear on the road and verges?

3. The chemicals that will be used to mend any cracks in the seabank are said to be environmentally friendly but there is a question as to whether this is the case – there are human health & safety issues.

4. There is a proposal to use hovercraft to transport personnel to the worksite. When Centrica used hovercraft they exceeded the limits of numbers of trips and the agreed speed limit. People in Sutton Bridge suffered from noise while birds and seals were disturbed.

Mr Blundell repeated that his intention had been to present these items simply as a trailer for agenda items 10(i) and 21. Nothing more.

The Chairman commented that he had it in mind to mention just these issues under item 10(i)

Apologies for absence

Cllr Giles and Cllr Brewis who, as we heard so often before and been so disappointed, said he'd be late.

4. Police Matters

PCSO Cardillo apologised for her absence but asked if there were any issues. She had made a report which the Clerk alluded to. Parking in Wharf Street required a letter drop – tickets could only be issued by the police. There was no possible offstreet parking in Custom House Street but there was room for emergency vehicles.

Police bikes would be on the streets on 5th Feb

Ben Harrington is training to be a policeman and, due to 'Austerity', will not be replaced so PCSO Cardillo will take over his role as well as her own. Cllr Scarlett pointed out that this was just not acceptable and suggested that the Parish Council should contact Inspector Tyner to make a protest.

Cllr Hills reported a case of an accident victim being bribed to say she was responsible for the accident. Cllr Scarlett said she should take this up with the police herself. The PC will monitor.

5. Chairman's Remarks

Sounded an unaccustomed note of thanks to SHDC for following up so quickly the case of the culprit who'd dumped rubbish in a bus-shelter including an address found by the Chair but who, as it turned out, had returned to his country of origin.

6. Clerk's Report

There had been no parking enforcements. The relevant Officer had spent 20 minutes in the village. The Water Co vehicle obscuring the view exiting from New Road was not illegal – keep badgering the company.

New maintenance-free rubber valves are to be installed on West Bank. They just needed an annual jetting through. They'd last 25 years.

NHS England said they had no plans to develop derelict land behind medical centre so the Community Housing Trust might be invited to consider the site. There may be a question of covenants.

Clerk said that having been frustrated last year with two speakers she'd invited to the APM last year pulling out at the last moment she wondered if anybody had any suggestions for a speaker this year apart from somebody from the Community Housing Trust . Cllr Rowe suggested Ms Rome (of PREL fame). When Standing Orders were lifted, Mr Blundell said he agreed with Cllr Rowe's suggestion (the Chair said, "We can but hope!") but that perhaps we ought to get DONG along...

7. Reports from District & County Councillors

In the continuing absence of Cllr Brewis, Cllr M Booth (who, although he said that 'there is no 'I' in team) was congratulated for having received the MBE for services rendered) said there ought to be cameras to catch fly-tippers. There were to be 2 part-time officers for the problem. Prosecution cost £1700 a time. There is a continuing need to report sightings of fly-tipping. Considering there's a Collection Service for large items it is ridiculous that 'dumb dumpers', as it seems they are in future to be called, don't take advantage of it.

It's not really surprising that there's so much fly-tipping. It costs £25 for up to three large items to be collected which is probably why there is so much fly-tipping – Government-inspired. Transporting large items to recycling centres is likely also to be costly and difficult. A need for cameras in the sky?

10(i). H18-1043-14 DONG & Race Bank

Since there had been no permissions yet given Cllr Scarlett urged that if the PC had deep misgivings about ducting, transport, hovercraft and monitoring they should just refuse the application. Application refused. Since there would no doubt be an appeal the refusal should be based on detailed comments – these would be constructed using the KLAG report which Cllrs had seen.

12E. Parish Newsletter Although Cllr Dewsberry barked 'Nothing to Report', Cllr Scarlett waved the prototype version of the Newsletter about and said that after one or two minor adjustments it would be available 'next week'. He was thanked for his efforts.

12F. Burial Ground Committee Gates being worked on...

14. New Council Rep on SBCCFC Cllrs shouted & thrust their hands up in unanimity at their relief when Cllr Scarlett's name was mentioned and his appointment was confirmed.

15. EPSB (Ex-PREL) Cllr Rowe suggested that the PC write to Ms Rome and ask her what was happening.

16. Power Station B Cllr Rowe still in correspondence with Pridham. She had just this evening received an email which seemed to suggest that SHDC had a legal responsibility for making sure that conditions were fully complied with. Since conditions attaching to Power Station A had not been complied with what faith could anybody have with their conduct of things over Power Station B. Cllr Rowe to liaise with the Clerk over a suitable reply

17. The Old Public Convenience The Clerk said that Gary Porter said he thought this has been sorted out long ago – the PC could have it for a £1 peppercorn rent. Cllr M Booth said this wasn't good enough – what about the rigmarole that the PC had had to waste its time on? What about the previously suggested rent of £800 a year? What about the cost of doing the building up? Would it not be cheaper for the building to be knocked down and the Bloomers provided with a shed? Should the PC not have charged SHDC rent for continuing to have the buidling on their property?

The proposal for £1 peppercorn rent came from Gary Porter not the Council. Cllr Scarlett suggested that they should put the proposal in writing and accept responsibility for renovations costing around £1000 which the Clrk detailed and 'see what happens'... Agreed

18. Anti-Metal Detection Notices for Memorial Park were proposed by the Chairman. Holes had appeared in the turf where a metal detector had been at work. Cllr S Booth wondered if it was the work of a rabbit – Cllr Hills said not unless it was a rabbit with a shovel. A question arose about the efficacy of the CCTV system detecting the presence of the detector. Whoever it was worked at night. Cllr JGrimwood neatly guided the discussion back to the proposed installation of notices: there are to be two notices, one at each entrance to the park. The PC could deal with the other issues as they arose.

At 8.40 this correspondent looked round to discover that the assembled multitude in the Public Gallery had disappeared to leave Lynne Harrison, Nigel Fenton and his mate and myself to unravel the intricacies of the irksome monetary situation presented to Sutton Bridge PC by SHDC as a 'consultation' and the government. Instead of wealth 'trickling down' as it is supposed to do in the lie of capitalism, what's trickling, if not flooding, is parsimony for the plebs on a grand scale. The Clerk eloquently presented the implications of the SHDC budget plan and indicated that in future years the upshot could be the curtailment of services right down to less grass-cutting in the area. Her explanation was so eloquent that it left your correspondent spell-bound so that he couldn't get his head round the process there and then – he wondered whether this might not be the case for Councillors too; he later got a very clear algebraic explanation from the Clerk.

19. SHDC Budget

The Clerk later provided this very clear analysis of what she'd said.

Let the letters PGSTB stand for the variables related to the budget such that

P = Precept – total amount Parish Council can raise through Council Tax
G = Grant from Government passed on by SHDC as Council Tax Support
S = Sum that can be included in a household Council Tax bill for precept (based on Band D property)
T = Tax base (number of properties in SB paying Council Tax)
B = Parish Council's Annual Budget

At present;

B = P + G

In future, G will disappear so;

B will = P where P = S x T

Therefore B will only = S x T

In its budgetry considerations, the Parish will in future have to take into account the facts that, as at the present time,

T usually goes down a bit each year,
S rises in this figure could be banned or limited as a result of government caps
G will have disappeared

Therefore, the PC's capacity to raise funds will diminish. In fact the PC's budget will in future be dictated by the maximum sum it is able/allowed to raise via precept.

The discussion revolved around the fact that the Parish Council of the most deprived area in South Holland could be hammered twice – by loss of support grant and possible capping by the government. It may be that SHDC will say that if SB wants more money it must accept power stations & incinerators which are supposed to [but don't] create jobs in the area. Cllr Rowe said, "We need the right kind of industry..." Not to be dumped on...

It was agreed that, since the District Council had asked for comments on their 2015-16 budget consultation, the Clerk should convey the PC's extreme concern that a large conurbation with special needs was being hit so hard – what will SHDC do to take into account the likely adverse effect on Sutton Bridge?

20. Annual Parish Inspection Cllr S Booth proposed an annual Parish inspection. It would take place in summer when the walking would be easier; when it was pointed out that many issues would be winter-related it was thought that a schedule of what would be needed all year round should be drawn up before the June PC meeting. In particular, the new valves on the West side of the river would get an annual inspection. Thought to be a good idea

21. DEFRA Air Quality Monitoring

Some Cllrs acknowledged Mr Blundell's statement during the Public Forum.

SHDC have a legal requirement to assess areas to which planning consent might apply before permission is granted. Why have they not been monitoring Wingland? Or, if they have, how's it been done? If not, why not? With the proposal to install 17 chimneys in or near the Wingland site there should be more monitoring not less. (The question is – how will who decide on what constitutes a 'hotspot').

The yellow plume from the existing Power Station happens all the time – who's monitoring that?

The overall point is that with the endless cutbacks less & less monitoring will be deemed 'value for money' and less and less resources will be allocated to it and the more buck-passing there will be.

The Clerk to write to DEFRA to express detailed disquiet.

22. Churchyard Issues Waste material from chuchyard bins had been disposed of on allotments so the existing bins had been removed. A new wire bin would cost £100 3/4 times a year to empty. The vicar had also asked if the PC would pay for the removal of a dangerous tree in the churchyard. It was pointed out that the PC already pays for the cutting of the grass in the churchyard but that 'in these times of Austerity (etc)' it could not afford either the emptying of a new bin or tree-lopping in the churchyard; people should be asked to remove their own dead flowers etc. Cllr Hills said that the church was a business and should arrange paying for its own needs. The PC will alert the church when its own tree-surgeon was in the area. (If the Church is a business, could not dead flowers etc be composted and the compost sold?)

The meeting ended at just after 9pm. Cllr Brewis had unfortunately not managed to arrive.

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Archived notes for previous Parish Council meetings held in 2014 can now be viewed HERE

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