Agenda and minutes

Louth Area Committee
Tuesday, 16th October, 2007 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Louth Town Hall, Eastgate, Louth

Contact: Cath Pearson  Interim Member Services Officer

Items
No. Item

11.

Apologies for Absence:

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor F.G. Coonghe (representing Louth Town Council).

12.

Declarations of Interest (if any):

Minutes:

At this point in the Meeting Members were invited to declare any relevant interests.

 

N.B.            Councillor M. Preen declared a personal interest in respect of Minute No. 17 due to being an employee of Stagecoach and remained in the Meeting during discussion and voting thereon.

13.

Minutes: pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To receive the Minutes of the Meeting held on 17th July 2007 – LAC 2 ? LAC 10.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 17th July 2007 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

14.

Introduction:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the Meeting and introduced Tony Lascelles, Head of Professional Services at East Lindsey District Council, as the new Corporate Support Officer for the Louth Area Committee.  Thanks were expressed to Stuart Pickering for his service as Corporate Support Officer over the past few years.

 

The Chairman also introduced Pat Fowler, Head of Environmental Services, Helen Boffy, Head of Business Support, Anneliese Anderson, Staff Officer to the Chief Executive, James Gilbert, Communications Officer, Councillor E.P. Mossop, Portfolio Holder for Rural Services and Partnerships and Councillor D.R. Edginton, Portfolio Holder for Amenities.

15.

Report Back on Issues Raised at the Last Meeting: pdf icon PDF 21 KB

Minutes:

An update was given on issues raised at the last Meeting held on 17th July 2007 at Louth Salvation Army Hall as follows:-

 

Recent Flooding

 

The flooding issue was discussed at Minute No. 16 in these Minutes.

 

Shaping Health for Lincolnshire

 

It was confirmed that Louth Area Committee submitted a formal response to the Shaping Health for Lincolnshire Questionnaire, a copy of which was circulated at the Meeting.

16.

Flooding Update:

To receive an update on the recent flooding.

Minutes:

The Head of Environmental Services provided Members with an update relating to flooding, and outlined progress made since the Louth Area Committee Meeting held on 17th July.  A public meeting was held at Louth Town Hall in October attended by a number of Agencies, to answer questions.  The Government had set up a Hardship Fund to enable Local Councils to offer financial assistance to residents suffering hardship.  The Hardship Fund had already helped many people and money was still available.

 

The Head of Environmental Services advised that East Lindsey District Council had employed two support officers funded through Supporting People to offer practical advice to those people affected by flooding.  Also, an Inter-Agency Drainage Forum had been established (including East Lindsey District Council, the Environment Agency, Lincolnshire County Council Highways, Anglian Water and the Drainage Boards) which met recently to discuss practical issues.  Members were advised that more than 200 complaints had been received directly relating to drainage issues.  Two part-time temporary Drainage Officers had been appointed to assist in this area.  Work had already begun on drainage in Grimoldby.  Members noted overall there was a real willingness for all agencies to work together.

 

Members were advised that every Parish Council in East Lindsey had been offered free empty sandbags and there had been a good take-up throughout the District.  East Lindsey District Council had taken delivery of 20,000 sandbags, which would then be made available to those Parish Councils who had expressed interest.  Members were further advised East Lindsey District Council’s Overview Committee had established a Flooding Task and Finish Group and two meetings had taken place on 7th and 25th September 2007 to discuss emergency planning and long term mitigation issues.

 

Reference was made to a holding tank in the Lincolnshire Wolds where rainwater could accumulate instead of running down to Louth.  The Head of Environmental Services confirmed the Environment Agency would be looking into this, along with other options.

 

The Chairman thanked the Head of Environmental Services for his update and agreed much had been achieved since the last Louth Area Committee Meeting.

 

(The Head of Environmental Services left the Meeting at 7.45 pm).

17.

Public Forum:

Minutes:

The Chairman invited discussion on any matter not being discussed later on the Agenda.  A resident wished to congratulate East Lindsey District Council on the excellent latest edition of the Messenger, but pointed out that residents in the Mablethorpe area had not received copies.  The Communications Officer advised there had been problems with distribution due to recent problems with Royal Mail and 70,000 copies were still undelivered, mainly to the rural areas, but it was hoped these would be delivered as soon as practicable.

 

Confirmation was sought regarding the report back on issues raised at the last Meeting, (Agenda Item 4) which indicated an improvement in dental provision in Louth.

 

The Chairman advised this matter would be discussed at the end of the Meeting.

18.

Proposals to Close Newmarket and Brackenborough Road Post Offices:

Minutes:

The Chairman advised Members that two Action Groups had been established to oppose closure of both the Brackenborough Road and Newmarket Post Offices.  An invitation to address the Meeting was extended to both Groups (The Friends of Brackenborough Road Post Office and The Friends of Newmarket Post Office) who outlined the reasons for keeping the Post Offices open.

 

Members were advised a petition placed at the Brackenborough Road Post Office had received approximately 1,700 signatures, the Action Group had been busy distributing posters and leaflets and Barbara Dickson was expected to appear on Look North News to raise public awareness and pledge her support.

 

A spokesperson for The Friends of Newmarket Post Office confirmed both Post Offices were profitable and very well used, with the Newmarket Post Office dealing with around £10,000 per month, 500 pension/benefit payments cashed, along with household payments, personal banking and insurance.  Brackenborough Road Post Office offered the same services but sold slightly more postage stamps and labels.  Members were advised both Post Offices were crucial for the elderly and people with mobility problems.  A candlelit vigil, supported by roughly 200 people, had been held which had appeared on both local news stations.

 

Concerns were expressed the proposed closures would cause:-

 

·        Loss of free parking;

·        Increased waiting times;

·        Difficulties for wheelchair users due to narrow paths;

·        Increased expenses incurred in travelling to town by taxi;

·        Infrequent bus service if the no. 41 bus was axed;

·        Very busy roads to cross, some with high kerbs;

 

It was suggested there had been several inaccuracies in statements made by Post Office Ltd regarding distances involved, terrain and frequency of available bus services, one of which was under threat of withdrawal.

 

The Spokesperson encouraged residents to write letters of support to Pat McFadden, MP, prior to the consultation period end date of 12th November 2007.

 

The Chairman thanked both spokespersons and invited the Chief Executive’s Staff Officer to make comment.  Members were advised that a joint public meeting was scheduled to take place on the 25th October 2007 at 7.30 p.m. at Louth Town Hall.  Representatives from both affected Post Offices had been invited to attend, along with the Chief Executive from East Lindsey District Council.  A spokesperson from Post Office Ltd had also been invited.  Members noted that East Lindsey District Council was firmly opposed to the closures, for the reasons outlined above.

 

It was suggested the Louth Area Committee wrote a strongly worded letter of objection to Post Office Ltd to arrive prior to the consultation period end date of 12th November 2007.

 

The Chairman agreed the Louth Area Committee would write to Post Office Ltd to voice objections and thanked all who contributed to the Meeting.

19.

Withdrawal of Louth No. 41 Bus Service:

To receive an update on the proposed withdrawal of the No. 41 bus service at Louth by Dave Skepper, representative from Stagecoach.

Minutes:

N.B.            Councillor M. Preen declared a personal interest in this item due to being an employee of Stagecoach and remained in the Meeting.

 

The Chairman welcomed Mr. D. Skepper, Commercial Director of Stagecoach, Mr. M. Nolan, Managing Director of Stagecoach and Mrs. H. Boffy, Head of Business Support at East Lindsey District Council.

 

Mr. Skepper thanked the Committee for the opportunity to state the case for Stagecoach and outlined the reasons behind the proposed withdrawal of the No. 41 bus service.  Members noted that in April 2006 the Concessionary Fares Scheme was introduced which enabled the elderly and disabled to travel on public transport free of charge.  The Government provided some funding to District Councils and the rate of reimbursement to the bus company in 2006/7 was 70p in the pound.  At the beginning of 2007 the formula changed, with the rate of reimbursement falling, which resulted in £1 million shortfall.  Due to the reduction in concessionary rate from the District Council the no. 41 bus service was no longer viable and unfortunately notice had to be given to withdraw this service.  Mr. Skepper stressed the subsidy was not for the actual service it was for carrying concessionaires. 

 

The Head of Business Support outlined to Members that East Lindsey District Council had been negotiating as one body on behalf of all the Lincolnshire Local Authorities.  Members were advised the payments were considered to be fair and reflected the statutory scheme payments.  The Head of Business Support provided the District Council’s point of view on generated fares, and explained that the concessionary fares scheme was not aligned to individual bus services and was not intended as a service subsidy.

 

The Chairman thanked both parties for providing details surrounding this issue, following which questions were raised on the profitability of the No. 41 bus service, the impact of the loss of service to the elderly and disabled and available alternative transport and the state of the buses on the No. 41 route.  Mr. Skepper responded that the service probably ran at a loss and advised that the state of buses in Lincolnshire was far better than in other areas.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Amenities quoted from a letter written to Lincolnshire County Council, as the Transport Authority and advised Members a response had not been received.

 

A further request was made to extend the service to allow for negotiations to take place.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Amenities advised Members that as East Lindsey District Council negotiated on behalf of the other Local Authorities in Lincolnshire approximately 23 companies were involved, so any agreement reached would affect all of the 7 Local Authorities.  The Head of Business Support then outlined the scheme for 2007/08.

 

(Councillor D.R. Edginton left the Meeting at 9.20 p.m.)

 

Mr. Skepper offered to meet with the Head of Business Support to further negotiations and this was agreed.

 

A Member welcomed the willingness of both parties to continue negotiations and it was Proposed and Seconded to report back on this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Licensing Act 2003: pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive a presentation by Mr. Adrian Twiddy, Licensing Team Leader.

Minutes:

NB:            Councillor J. Hough declared a personal interest due to being a Personal Licence holder and remained in the Meeting during discussion and voting thereon.

 

NB:            Councillor Ms. L.M.A.W. Koumi declared a personal interest due to being the partner of a Personal Licence holder and remained in the Meeting during discussion and voting thereon.

 

NB:            Councillor G.E. Horton declared a personal interest due to being a Member of the General Licensing Committee, the Licensing Act 2003 Committee and the Licensing Act 2003 Sub?Committee and remained in the Meeting during discussion and voting thereon.

 

The Licensing Team Leader, Mr. A. Twiddy delivered a PowerPoint presentation regarding the Licensing Act 2003, a copy of which is attached at Appendix A to these Minutes.

 

The presentation outlined the following: The purpose of the Licensing Act 2003; Premises Licences; Club Premises Certificates;Temporary Event Notices (TEN’s); the licensing objectives and their fundamental principles; the current ELDC situation in terms of licenses; responsible authorities; conditions for premises licences; Licence reviews and the grounds for a review; the process for applying for a review and the action that can be taken by the local authority following a review.

 

Whilst it was noted the responsible authorities received copies of the applications, unfortunately Parish Councils were not included.  Mr. Twiddy advised long term the District Council hoped to include information on the Council’s Website to enable Parish Councils to view progress of applications.  Members noted representations must be made within 28 days and it was noted that the Authority was generally in favour of a Challenge 21 Policy on Licensed Premises that required any person who appeared to be under 21 to provide proof of age before alcohol was supplied.  Members were advised applications for a review could not be submitted anonymously and applications may ultimately proceed to the Magistrates Court.

 

At the conclusion of the presentation, the Team Leader, Licensing invited comments from the Committee regarding the Licensing Act 2003.

 

A Louth Town Councillor voiced concerns relating to the following:

 

·        legislation relating to the membership of the Licensing Act 2003 Sub-Committee;

·        street cleansing costs to East Lindsey District Council as a result of increased drinking hours;

·        the wider implications on health as a result of longer licensing hours;

·        public notices were difficult to read and the text was too small;

·        increased instances of crime and disorder, including disturbance at night, violence towards people and damage to property.

 

Further concerns were raised relating to an increase in noise disturbance generated from people using outside smoking areas following the recent smoking ban.  The Licensing Team Leader stated there was currently no legal requirement to limit noise levels generated by members of the public smoking outside.

21.

Open Forum:

Minutes:

Confirmation was sought that there had been an improvement in dental provision in Louth since the last Louth Area Committee Meeting held on 17th July 2007, as stated in Agenda Item No. 4, under issue 3.

 

The Chairman advised Members the Committee would endeavour to obtain facts and figures on this matter and report back to the next Area Committee Meeting in December.

22.

Date, Time and Venue of Next Meeting:

Minutes:

The next Meeting of the Louth Area Committee will be held on the 18th December 2007 at 7.30 p.m. - venue to be arranged.