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Lincolnshire County Council leader, Martin Hill, told Local Democracy reporters that the authority would like to see a range of areas addressed under the next government.

What do Lincolnshire's councils want from the next government?

It will be cold and it will be wet, but once the campaign trail is over and the next government takes its seats on the front benches, council leaders will be looking to see if the decision to call an early election benefits them.

Tightened budgets, under pressure local services, devolution and adult social care will be among the priority areas for local authorities, who feel they have held their fair share of burden over the last decade.

It goes back as far as the coalition government, which came into office with ideas to shrink the size of the state and called upon councils to become more self-sufficient.

“We are always told to be more business-like,” City of Lincoln Council leader, Ric Metcalfe, pointed out previously.

That has been reflected in numerous commercial strategies tabled by local authority leaders, such as Lincolnshire County Council which pledged not to invest outside the region.

But, all of this has come with a lurking sense of uncertainty. Adult social care is under extreme pressure as councils await what the future holds for the service and support grants have been slashed.

Authority chiefs could probably list numerous areas that need addressing by central government. But, for now, they’re focusing on the main issues.

County council leader, Martin Hill, told Local Democracy Weekly that the authority wanted certainty over fairer funding, among other areas.

“We want a sustainable mechanism for funding social care in the future,” he said.

“We also want genuine devolution so that local areas like Lincolnshire can have more discretion and more say on how they run their own affairs.”

Of course, the election will not be fought solely on what local councils need.

The Prime Minister is not going to stand on his soapbox in the middle of a town centre and take the election fight on fairer funding for local authorities.

Nor is Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, going to focus his party’s entire campaign on giving power back to the regions.

But, once the next government unveils its Queen’s Speech in the coming months, council leaders will be watching and digging through the detail in the lookout for hope and clarity.

Because, at the moment, they could all use some.— CALVIN ROBINSON

UKIP Councillor Jane Bramley has been criticised for raising fears of "petrol bombs" being prepared over a potential new travellers site on the Nunsthorpe Estate.

"Inflammatory language not going to help with
travellers' site decisions"

A cross-party parliamentary group co-chairman has said solutions to Grimsby’s traveller site needs can be found, but said “inflammatory language and setting one community against another is not going to help”.

Labour’s Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston, was one of two signatories on a letter to North East Lincolnshire Council leader Philip Jackson criticising UKIP Councillor Jane Bramley for quoting social media posts against two proposed sites on the Nunsthorpe Estate.

The comments allegedly made reference to “petrol bombs” being prepared and Councillor Bramley had warned council leaders that “World War Three” might happen if one of the sites was chosen.

Councillor Bramley says she was just repeating what had been said and could not be held responsible for others' actions.

Mrs Green, a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma, told Local Democracy Weekly the community suffered a great deal of racial abuse and hostility.

“There are a number of really terrible cases, we have had some violence, abuse and even murder,” she said.

Work is ongoing to encourage communities to report hate crime but there is a lack of trust in authorities.

Key factors include finding suitable sites - an issue exacerbated by planning laws, a lack of funding and tougher legislation cracking down on unauthorised sites.

Mrs Green said: “Seeing a local councillor quoting inflammatory language is downright irresponsible and worsens an already flammable situation.”

She said there was a “big role for the council and elected councillors to show leadership and broker relations between the two”.

“What can work really well is when there’s constructive conversations, which negotiate the way in which two communities all behave towards one another,” she said.

She pointed to successful schemes elsewhere in the country including “Negotiated Stopping” in Leeds, and work the police were doing in Cheshire - a town where in 2003 traveler Johnny Delaney, 15, was killed by two youths after an altercation between his friends and a group of teenagers in Ellesmere Port.

“You need to get constructive plans in place so everybody can be a good neighbour.”

Previous unauthorised sites in Grimsby have agitated tensions, with residents complaining about anti-social behaviour, trespass on private property and the mess left behind when they are eventually moved on.

“Where people have experienced that they are rightly going to feel angry and reluctant to welcome traveller communities,” said Mrs Green.

“But it’s about dividing bad behaviour from discrimination. We have got to be clear we cannot condemn a whole community for the bad behaviour of a few people.”

“The answer in the end is decent, legitimate sites. People go to unauthorised sites because they can’t find somewhere legitimate.

Suitable sites varied from area to area, said Mrs Green, but she added it was not necessarily right to put them on the outskirts.

“Why should trailer communities, more than any other communities, be placed further away from amenities?”

“We have got to recognise the human rights for travellers are equal to, not more than, the human rights of settled communities.” — DANIEL JAINES

MEET THE LOCAL DEMOCRACY REPORTERS

Calvin Robinson

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Daniel Jaines

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • Campaigners are braced to take the fight to major oil firm, Egdon Resources, at a public inquiry next week. But, they will not have North Lincolnshire Council backing them up in their corner. Instead, the authority has pulled its objections to the firm’s plans. Campaigners said they were “profoundly disappointed”. - CR
  • Tributes were paid to long-serving North Lincolnshire councillor, John Collinson, this week. John, who served Ashby ward, died after a long illness aged 66. He was described as a friendly man who gained “natural respect” wherever he worked. - CR
  • People on the Ermine in Lincoln could soon be bidding farewell to the former methodist church on the estate. Councillors are set to give approval for the church to be demolished and make way for a new housing estate. The building dates back to the 1950s and 60s when the estate was being developed. - CR
  • The green light has been given to North Kesteven District Council’s £1.2 million refurbishment project for Sleaford’s National Centre of Craft and Design. The plans will see the top two floors of the building given over to MRI Software, which will move from its current premises in Westgate. A 200sqm ground floor extension will then create a ground floor gallery, an artist workshop, a children’s zone and a performing arts studio. - DJ
  • Plans to set up new and expanded Residents Parking Schemes in the uphill area of Lincoln will get the go ahead next week. Concerns have been raised over the impact on businesses and neighbouring streets, however, officers at Lincolnshire County Council have recommended over-ruling them. - DJ
  • A 54 home plan on the former Louth Town Football Club site looks set for approval next week. However, a developers’ attempts to ditch a replacement sports facility will go into extra time. East Lindsey District Council’s planning committee will be told that a condition on developer GBM’s original outline permission for 98 homes on the Park Avenue site “remains in force”. - DJ

ON THE AGENDA

Monday, November 4

Lincolnshire County Council Planning Committee - Resident parking permits to be enforced on more Lincoln roads, New 142-place special needs school to be approved in Boston 

West Lindsey District Council Full Council - Councillor who made Corbyn "gallows" slur to make public apology, Council to make climate change pledge

Tuesday, November 5

Public Inquiry to open into Wressle oil well, North Lincolnshire

North East Lincolnshire Council Economy Scrutiny Panel - Councillors to hear shortlist of potential travellers sites

Wednesday, November 6

North East Lincolnshire Council Planning - 74 timber lodges lined up for Laceby resort

North East Lincolnshire Council Cabinet - Cabinet to send controversial travellers site shortlist out for consultation, Council's £568k Victorian school repair bill to remove from "at risk" register

Thursday, November 7

East Lindsey District Council Planning - 54 new homes planned for Louth Town Football ground, Grammar school set for £2m sports hall expansion

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