Fallout continues over buildings list

The potentially sensitive issue of councillors calling for improvements to privately-owned property was highlighted on Thursday (February 11, 2016) during the public forum of a council meeting.

Caistor Town Council had recently agreed to draw up a list of buildings with the intention of lobbying West Lindsey District Council to take action over them.

A member of the public turned up to Thursday’s meeting to express her anger that a property that she has recently sold was included on the list.

The councillors’ initial focus when compiling the list originally seemed to be property that looked run down or had been unoccupied for a very long time. Neither of these criteria applied to many properties on the list, which named 23 sites in total.

Clearly upset, the member of the public queried whether there had been a conflict of interest with regard to one councillor.

She said the building was referred to in a way that had not been relevant for some years and in a way that she found hurtful to her family.

She pointed out that the building had not recently been unoccupied, and that its appearance was no worse than nearby properties.

Several councillors made a response. One said the listing might have referred to the rear of her former property. In fact, the rear of the property was also listed as a separate item. One said he never envisaged that the list would enter into the public domain until there had been some more research. One of the councillors also said the list was going to be reviewed.

Mayor Carol Mackenzie said the discussion was entering into some very personal matters which were not suitable for the public forum.

The member of the public had also wanted to express her view on Millfields Park, which she said used to be referred to as “Pig Field”.

“We have not many places left in Caistor where we can go and the children have a natural habitat to play in,” she said. “Please can we have it as a natural resource for children if the playground is taken out?”

“There is a process for people in Caistor to make their views (on Millfields) known,” said Mayor Mackenzie, “but your concerns are noted.”

Pictured is the former council offices off Southdale, one of the buildings originally discussed by councillors when it was decided a list of properties should be compiled.

Shona Wall

Editor of Caistor Citizen Shona Wall is an NCTJ trained journalist and has worked for many local and national newspapers

4 thoughts on “Fallout continues over buildings list

  1. Its only right that the council should compile a list as it’s important to expect all buildings within the area to be sound and of good appearance. However,it makes it hard to expect all concerned to make the effort when the council owned empty buildings such as the old library shown are in such a state, on par with how the old Coop used to be!
    Its also important that any official document should be up to date and checked out prior to submission or discussion.
    If what you say is true, I seemed to have missed where it said the council gave an apology to the former owner that their information was incorrect.

  2. I think the public are missing the most disturbing point here. This matter came to light through good journalism but it could easily have stayed a secret.
    The reason that such documents are not readily available is that their publication could make the council accountable to the electorate.
    If a member of the public can now apply, in advance, for copies of documentation why not make them available online, at no cost, prior to a meeting. Any interested person could then attend the meeting with knowledge of the subject to be debated. There is no cost implication.

    What is going on that we do not know about?

    The function of a cash strapped council needs some close attention and misuse of authority is a concern

  3. I fundamentally disagree with Watch Manager about the need to compile a list of buildings to ensure they meet aesthic standards.
    Criteria for council attention should be safety and extreme cases of concern over utility.
    The way to encourage civic pride is by example and constructive initiative.
    Some disturbing action by taste police is best left to dictatorships and “Cotswold” committees.

  4. Richard Wish,
    You may well fundamentally disagree with me and that’s your right to do so in a democracy exactly the same right as I had to make my comment without the last sentence you made. If you disagreed with compiling a list then you could have objected at the meeting when it was mentioned. The packed meeting seemed to be in agreement! You must also fundamentally disagree with the planning department then, when part of their criteria is just that! When deciding on an application they do take into account the aesthetic values including paint colours, window design, type of construction etc. Not just safety issues of a building. The list was suggested for the town council to lobby West Lindsey to maybe write to the owners of derelict looking buildings and encourage them to tidy them up in keeping with their neighbourhood.
    As for encouraging civic pride, I agree, hence the comment about the state of the council owned old library being made.
    As for dictatorships – Oh dear!

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