Town’s progress during year reported at meeting
Twenty six people braved the snowy weather in Caistor last night (Wednesday, April 27, 2016) to attend the town’s annual meeting.
The turnout was lower than some had expected, although the number of seats provided proved an uncannily accurate guess.
The issue of an outline planning application for 72-homes off Brigg Road also received much less attention than some expected, suggesting Caistor’s residents are either resigned to the outcome, or that the level of feeling over the issue has been over-estimated.
Mayor Carol Mackenzie presented an overview of events in the town during the past year, and clerk Helen Pitman presented a financial report, followed by reports from councillors with special responsibility for planning, sports clubs, parks, the town hall, economic development, the churchyard, cemetery and allotments. The meeting heard that the town council is due to discuss the All About You project for young people in more depth at a later date.
Mayor Mackenzie praised the town’s many activities throughout the year and particularly thanked maintenance worker Keith Robinson and the town clerk Helen Pitman for their hard work. She added of Ms Pitman, “She is SuperWoman. If we ask her to do something she just does it.” The research skills and guidance that Ms Pitman gave to the councillors, who are all volunteers, were invaluable, Mayor Mackenzie added.
In her financial report, Ms Pitman said the council’s income had been just under £155,000, and the expenditure was just under £190,000, The reserves were down on last year, but were expected to come back to within recommended levels of about £50,000 after a VAT refund of approximately £20,000 was taken into account. She warned that the county council was planning to cut its budget for cutting grass areas and verges, and that the town would have to find about £4,000 a year more if it wanted to keep the level of service at the same standard.
During the parks report, Cllr Mike Stopper reported that there had been a low response to the public consultation on Millfields Park, and the results were inconclusive. It meant that there was limited guidance on what the public wanted regarding the future of the park and considerations were ongoing. Signs had also been put up to warn that the enclosed play equipment at the sports ground should be used by under eight-year-olds, he said – a move that had come about after young children had been deterred by teenagers.
The public raised matters about the town council’s bid to gain Local Green Space status for Waterhills and “Lower Waterhills”, with Ms Pitman confirming a submission had been made last week during the public consultation on the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.
Cllr Alan Caine also made a suggestion to safeguard an area of land near the Montessori School from development. If a group of people were to buy it and divide it into small plots, the resulting administration would deter development, he said.
A resident of Hansard Crescent asked if there were plans to limit play on the new facilities at the sports ground late at night. It was confirmed that proposals to alter the bylaws were being considered, with one of the proposals being that the facilities would not be used after 8pm.
A member of the public reported concerns about parking at the lower end of Mill Lane near the entrance to South Street Park. Cllr Caine said if someone was causing an obstruction, it was a police matter. Overnight parking is now permitted at the car park at the former council depot further along Mill Lane, the meeting heard. A sign at the car park will be adjusted to reflect the new arrangements – with one member of the public even offering his painting services. Dog fouling in Boys’ Hill and mud/uneven surfaces of the footpath along Brigg Road were also discussed.
In total, the meeting was exactly one hour long, dispersing at 8pm, with Mayor Mackenzie thanking the public for their interest.
The picture shows people gathering at the town hall arts centre four minutes before the annual meeting was due to start