Louth Town Council - Working with the community to make Louth a better place to live and work

Minutes for the Town Council Meeting 9th January 2024

01-09-24 TC MINS

 

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF LOUTH TOWN COUNCIL
HELD IN THE OLD COURT ROOM, THE SESSIONS HOUSE, LOUTH

ON TUESDAY 9th JANUARY 2024

 

                                                    The Mayor, Cllr. J. Simmons (JS) (in the chair).

 

Present Councillors: Mrs. E. Ballard (Mrs. EB), J. Baskett (JB), L.M. Cooney (LMC), Mrs. S. Crew (Mrs. SC), J. Drake (JD), H. Filer (HF), L. Frost (LF), D. Hobson (DH), G.E. Horton (GEH), M. Lamb (ML), Mrs. J. Makinson-Sanders (Mrs. JMS), Mrs. K. Parsons (Mrs. KP) and P. Starsmore (PS).

 

Councillors not present: M. Barnes (MB), Mrs. P.F. Watson (Mrs. PFW).

 

The Town Clerk, Mrs. L.M. Phillips, the Town Clerk’s Assistant, Miss S. Chitauro, the Mayor’s Serjeant, Mrs. S. Dykes, the Mayor’s Chaplain, Reverend R. Mansfield, Lincolnshire County Councillor A. Hall, East Lindsey District Councillors R. Jackson and A. Leonard, Mr. J. Irving of the Louth Community Arts Centre Project, and two members of the public were also present.

The Council received the following reports from elected Members of Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) and East Lindsey District Council (ELDC):

  • LCC Cllr. Hall provided the Council with a briefing document covering the topics of support services, the new name for Wolds AONB, FixMyStreet, Highways Funding, Devolution, and the Louth Active Travel Scheme’s Engagement plans re. options for Louth Town Centre. He then welcomed questions from Councillors.  One Councillor questioned Cllr. Hall on whether he would support the Council with their concerns regarding the roundabout located on the A16 road near to the proposed site of a new supermarket.  Hall confirmed that he did support the Council’s concerns.  He was then questioned as to whether LCC would be investing money into fixing the potholes around the town. Cllr. Hall replied that he was aware of the ongoing issues and the effect it was having on residents of the town.  He stated that he believed spending more on fixing potholes and surfacing the roads to a good standard to ensure less potholes in the future was paramount.  A Councillor expressed their concerns over the accessibility of the Louth Active Travel Scheme’s previous engagement activities to vulnerable residents, and asked how the engagement activities were to be advertised to prevent this from happening in future.  Cllr. Hall said that he shared the Councillors concerns but told the Council that he did not have that information.  However, he assured them that he would update the Town Council as and when the information was provided.  He told the Council that the engagement activities were to commence from 22nd January 2024.
  • ELDC Cllr. R. Jackson provided the Council with a report outlining Councillor Community Grants, Flooding, Devolution, Scrutiny Work, Planning and Climate Action. She reiterated that the Town Council could apply for community grants on behalf of community groups however the deadline for applications was approaching.  One Councillor asked about re-zoning the boundaries of Louth to include houses on the outskirts of the town. Cllr. Jackson stated that the decision would have to be made by the Boundary Commission, who last reviewed the Louth boundaries in 2014.  The Town Clerk informed the Council that she had recently approached ELDC to request that the boundaries of Louth be reviewed.  A second Cllr. mentioned that he thought Louth was ‘at a stand-still’ compared with other towns regarding charging points for electric cars.  Jackson explained that she was aware of the lack of charging points in the town and said that there would be a scrutiny on how Louth was progressing with Climate Action.  She shared that the scrutiny had not started but would be able to provide more information once it had been completed.
  • ELDC Cllr. A. Leonard stressed the importance of keeping the town as it is and retaining shopkeepers in Louth Town Centre, and that several shopkeepers had told him that, had the town not reverted to how it was, they would not have renewed their lease. He also told the Council that a business had reported an increase in turnover now that the town was back to normal.  Leonard then warned the Council of placing a plaque in Westgate Fields to commemorate the Coronation of King Charles III, stating that it could be targeted by vandals.  Cllr. Leonard spoke of a planning application for a supermarket to be built near DH Smith.  He warned that it would cause accidents and that the town would not cope with the increased traffic, and that its construction would be at the detriment of the town centre.
  • ELDC Cllr. D. Hobson informed the Council that the last Drainage Board and Flood Scrutiny meetings he had attended had been heavily focused on the aftermath of Storm Babet. D. Hobson said that he had asked the Environment Agency for their comments on issues that were raised regarding flooding at the Town Council meeting on 21st November 2023, and that he would follow them up for further answers.
  • ELDC Cllr. G. E. Horton agreed with Cllr. Leonard’s statements on Louth’s town centre. He then told the Council that an agreement had been made with a group to take over Charles Street Recreation Ground, which he was pleased about.  A Councillor confirmed that Charles Street Fishing Pond was to be run by Charles Street Fishing Group, headed by Mr. J. Adlam.  She informed the Council that the group was hoping to be ready by spring, with the first meeting taking place on 11th January 2024.  She stated that the committee had been formed and had a constitution.
  • ELDC Cllr. Mrs. J. Makinson-Sanders reported that there had been a review of polling stations and that the polling station previously based at the Royal British Legion was to be relocated to The Sessions House. She shared her concerns regarding the parking issues on the Industrial Estate, to which the Town Clerk responded that LCC had informed the Council that they believe the recently implemented ‘No Waiting at Any Time’ restrictions were adequate but would review if the issue persisted.  Finally, Councillor Mrs. J. Makinson-Sanders also warned the Council that ELDC was considering increasing parking fees.
  • Apologies for Absence
    Apologies for absence were received from Cllr. Mrs. PFW.
  • Declarations of Interest/Dispensations
    The following declarations were made:

    1. DH, GEH and Mrs. JMS – Item 7 as members of East Lindsey District Council (ELDC).
    2. JB, LMC, JD, HF, LF, JS, PS – Item 9. Cllrs. wished to reiterate that, although they had supported the project, they did so as individuals and not as Town Councillors.

  • Minutes
    It was RESOLVED to approve the minutes of the Council Meeting held on the 21st November 2023 as a correct record.

  • Committee Minutes
    It was RESOLVED to confirm receipt of the minutes and adopt the resolutions contained therein of the following Committee Meetings:

    1. Planning Committee – 29th August 2023
    2. Planning Committee – 19th September 2023
    3. Planning Committee – 10th October 2023
    4. Planning Committee – 31st October 2023
    5. Planning Committee – 21st November 2023
    6. Governance and Finance Committee – 8th August 2023
    7. Governance and Finance Committee – 10th October 2023
    8. Community Resources Committee – 29th August 2023
    9. Personnel Committee – 11th July 2023
  • Mayor’s Announcements
    Councillors were provided with a list of 40 events that the Mayor had attended since the last Robed Town Council Meeting on 19th September 2023. The Mayor picked out her highlights from the list and expounded upon these.
  • Precept
    1. It was RESOLVED, after receiving a recommendation from the Governance and Finance Committee made on 12th December 2023, to approve the budget proposal, resulting in a precept request for 2024/25 of £309,032, giving an increase of 0.3% on 2023/24, using updated Tax Base figures received from ELDC.
    2. It was RESOLVED that the Council would delegate authority to the Town Clerk to complete the necessary form which would be submitted to ELDC (Collection Authority) to meet its deadline.

  • Partnership Working – Tree for King Charles III
    Following resolution on 20th June 2023 that the Council should attempt to make arrangements for a tree to be planted in Westgate Fields to commemorate the Coronation of King Charles III, the Council RESOLVED to purchase and erect a commemorative plaque. It wished the wording to be on the following lines: ‘This Red Royal Oak (Quercus Rubra) was planted by Toby Dennis, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, in commemoration of the Coronation of King Charles III on 6th May 2023.’  with the involvement of Louth Town Council’s and ELDC being referenced by the place of their logos in each corner of the plaque, if possible.

 

  • D-Day 80 Commemoration – Thursday 6th June 2024
    After receiving correspondence from the Pageantmaster, Bruno Peek, it was RESOLVED that Louth Town Council would take part in the D-Day 80 Commemorations taking place on 6th June 2024 and would approve any expenditure which may be required for the event, such as for the lighting of the beacon, road closures, sound system, music, etc.

  • Update from Mr. J. Irving on progress of the Louth Community Arts Centre Project
    Irving greeted the Council and handed out a leaflet containing information about the campaign to save Louth’s Royal British Legion Hall. He told the Council that since he had last appeared before them, he had submitted an Asset of Community Value application to ELDC and expected to hear their decision on the matter by 11th February 2024.  He said that he had also applied for funding to start a campaign and that the group had submitted a £75,000 grant application for shared prosperity funding which Mr. Irving estimated would pay around 25% of the cost of the purchase of the Royal British Legion Hall building and committee costs.  Mr. Irving told the Council that he had made contact with the Royal British Legion at a meaningful level and that he and two others had been invited to meet with the Royal British Legion at the end of January.  Mr. Irving then thanked the Council for their grant award of £200 and informed them that the money was to be used to print leaflets and that their intent for the funding they had received was to do a round of public and stakeholder engagement in the town.  The floor was opened for questions.  One Councillor said that the building was a hugely valuable asset for the town and held significant historical value.  She asked whether there were any other parties or developers interested in buying the property, to which Mr. Irving responded that the Royal British Legion had confirmed that there were two other individuals interested in buying the building.  Another Councillor stated her view that it was important not to overlap with services already running in Louth, believing that Mr. Irving needed to appeal to everyone in the community, not just the third sector.  Mr. Irving responded by saying that he had been speaking to people on a cultural level, and that he would be contacting Zero Degrees and the Riverhead Theatre.  Several Councillors agreed that the Royal British Legion Hall was an important community asset that was essential to the town.  The Chairman allowed ELDC Councillor for Priory and St. James’ Ward, Mr. A. Leonard to speak, who suggested that an agreement with the Royal British Legion Headquarters may be more easily reached if local veterans and members were guaranteed a secure base for operations.  He also suggested that, if a loan was required, ELDC Councillors may be able to open talks with ELDC about the possibility of underwriting the loan.  Mr. Irving responded saying that he wanted to secure enough grant funding to fund the campaign independently.  Mr. Leonard then asked when the Royal British Legion wanted to dispose of the property.  Mr. Irving replied that it was undisclosed but that he wanted them to recognise their intent as a group to form a charity which would benefit the members of the Royal British Legion.  He said that S117 Charities Act allowed the sale below the market rate to charities that have similar aims or objectives, and that this was the group’s preferred route.
  • Closed Session Item
    The Council moved into closed session in accordance with the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 to discuss the following item, with information being of a third party and confidential nature with regard to

    1. Asset of Community Value Nomination – The Royal British Legion Hall, Northgate, Louth.
      The Council received documentation relating to the above which ELDC had confirmed the contents of which must be kept confidential. It was RESOLVED to submit the following corporate response to ELDC by 22nd January 2024: ‘Louth Town Council unanimously support this application and would like to express how heartened it is by the sense of community that is behind it, with the sole intention of preserving a vital and historic asset in the centre of our town’.
  • Next Meeting
    It was noted that the next scheduled meeting of the Town Council would take place on 19th March 2024.

 

The Meeting Closed at 8.35pm.

 

 

 

Signed_______________________ (Chairman)                Dated_________________________