Opposition is awake, but not with it!

It’s seldom a good idea to offer your opponent any free publicity.  However when they make inaccurate, ill-informed and in one case, a statement that would be libellous if it were made about a individual and not the council, they must be challenged.

I don’t know the person in question and none of my comments are based on an opinion of him as a person.  They only relate to the glaring inaccuracies in his election leaflet and seek to challenge the vague promises he has made – these are detailed in the italics below, with my responses in bold text.

All of his typographical and grammatical errors have been retained, to ensure that I cannot be accused of changing or censoring his words.

“………. I am your Independent candidate for the Woolram Wygate Ward.” 

The name of the ward is Spalding Wygate!

“The next few years will see more housing constructed towards the end of Woolram Wygate / Monks House Lane and this has an opportunity for great things, I would work with the developer to ensure maximum community benefit.”

The new development will be taking place on land at the Monks House Lane end of Wygate Park, nowhere near Woolram Wygate.

Negotiations regarding community benefits such as a very large area of open space, a community centre, along with land and money for a new primary school, all took place back in 2001.

“In addition there are large sums of money coming into the council from housing developments and the power station. Previous sums which should have been used to transform Spalding have been used to support the general workings of the council.”

“This must stop— money claimed for Spalding should be spent on facilities for all effected by the development”.

There are NO ‘large sums’ of money coming in from housing development.  All the benefits to come from development will be within the area being developed i.e. community centre, play equipment, large public open space area.

The money to be paid by the power station once built, apart from £100,000 for Pinchbeck parish council, has been identified for specific purposes within Spalding.

It is illegal to spend a financial contribution from a developer on anything other than what was detailed in the legal agreement.

The underlined accusation is particularly disturbing.  Not only is it completely WRONG, it appears to make an unfounded accusation of fraud against the district council.

“Those of you near the railway will have noticed night works to prepare the track for freight. These have the potential to cause massive disruption to traffic and an obvious potential risk for emergency vehicle access. I would work with the train companies to ensure this disruption is kept to a minimum.”

Concerns regarding the impact on Spalding are the subject of long term and detailed discussions with both the rail operator and the county council.  We have also raised our concerns with central government, assisted by our local Conservative MP, Mr John Hayes.

“I believe that the council needs change in order to properly represent local views and not be influenced by party politics and government directives.”

Low levels of council tax and weekly refuse and recycling collections are both Conservative Party policies we are proud to promote in South Holland.

Government directives are the basis for almost everything local government does and cannot be ignored whatever the council’s political colour.

“With building land becoming so scarce the green belt between Pinchbeck and Spalding must be preserved.”

Building land is NOT scarce in South Holland and we have a more than ample supply as detailed in the South Holland Adopted Local Plan.

The land between Pinchbeck and Spalding is not designated as Green Belt, a term used to protect green areas around cities from urban sprawl.  In Lincolnshire we call it open countryside.

Parishing Spalding  “There has been talk for many years regarding this issue. I support any measure that gives people more say in their neighbourhood and believe the small initial additional cost would reap huge rewards”.

As well as the so called ‘small initial cost’ (potentially £25,000 to £50,000), setting up a town council for Spalding would require a large increase in the ANNUAL precept charged to the residents, in order to provide ongoing administration, staffing and accommodation for the town council. 

No hint is given as to what these ‘huge rewards’ will be.

“Parish councils can apply for grant and lottery funding for major projects which the council legally cannot.  In addition the new localism bill will allow parish councils to challenge for existing service, resulting in an overall cost saving and improved efficiency.”

“The potential savings would protect us all form additional council tax rises and ensure that all services were run at maximum efficiency”

The district council is NOT prohibited from applying for grant funding from appropriate sources and assists many local organisations in doing this.

Any town council wishing to take over a council service would have to increase its resources to manage that service properly.  Much of the cost would simply transfer from the district council tax to a town council tax. 

“Many of you have children at the pri­mary school, I would welcome any form of partnership working with the school board and governors to ensure it gets the help it deserves”

School board AND governors? Or does he actually mean the Board of Governors?  The primary school already controls its own budget.  Given that its other funding is provided by the County Council, what exactly is the help it deserves from the district council?

“Ensuring the Green space between Pinchbeck and Spalding”

Ensuring it’s what?  This area is already protected by the development boundaries detailed in the South Holland Local Plan.

“Work with train operators to ensure minimal disruption to the level crossing”.

The train operators do not suffer any ‘disruption to the level crossing’.  It is the traffic crossing the level crossing that is disrupted when the gates are closed to allow a train to pass.  We are actively working with the county council to seek a long term solution to the planned increase in rail traffic through Spalding.

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