Monthly Archive 30 August 2022

Stopping unsafe and irresponsible parking outside schools

THE first of a range of road safety and enforcement measures was introduced outside a Cleethorpes school today (Tuesday, August 30), to deter dangerous parking at pick-up and drop-off times.

Read More

Area ranks above national average for two-year-olds benefiting from free childcare

North East Lincolnshire has ranked above the national average for two year old take up of free childcare

Read More

Don’t miss out on your right to vote

Over the summer, householders in North East Lincolnshire have been contacted about completing the authority’s annual canvass.

Read More

Heritage organisations hit the jackpot

THREE exciting heritage projects in North East Lincolnshire are set to benefit from over £590,000 in National Lottery Heritage Fund grants.

Read More

CCTV network upgrades underway

North East Lincolnshire Council, and its regeneration partners EQUANS, have started a £2.2m project to update the CCTV infrastructure across the borough.

Read More

£8m Levelling Up boost for Grimsby

Vital bridges connecting Grimsby and Immingham will be repaired to boost the local key industries and tourism, prevent road closures and secure future jobs for the region, Levelling Up Secretary Greg Clark announced today (Thursday 11 August).

Read More

Western School site housing development moves a step closer

An opportunity to create the housing development on the former Western School site has been released to tender this week.

Read More

Toll Bar roundabout improvement scheme

North East Lincolnshire Council and its regeneration partner, EQUANS, will be delivering the final works on the Toll Bar roundabout improvement scheme between Monday, August 22 and Friday, August 26, subject to weather conditions.

Read More

‘Making unsubstantiated allegations is no way to progress’ – Council Leader

Council Leader Philip Jackson has responded to a concerned resident’s open letter by outlining progress made in North East Lincolnshire – but by also warning that making untrue statements is not a way forward.

Paul Henderson has sent his open letter to Coun Jackson to the local media, alleging ‘increasing dissatisfaction with North East Lincolnshire Council’, among other issues. Coun Jackson has responded point by point.

Here is Mr Henderson’s letter in full and unedited:

Open Letter To NE Lincs Council

Dear Mr Jackson

Increasing Dissatisfaction with NE Lincs Council

The council has set itself up to be against the people it is supposed to be representing, and that is a very dangerous position to be in for its staff and its councillors.

You have now crossed a, previously invisible, line which has been drawn on social media.  This has resulted from you turning so many of us into protestors against, and too few of us into supporters for, the works planned across our fantastic town.

Our town is enjoying a resurgence in civic pride, community spirit and economic regeneration.  This is in spite of the council, not because of it.  Your ambition appears to be limited to incessant housebuilding (Freshney Valley), buying a failed business (Freshney Place) and wasting inward investment on things people don’t especially want (cycle lanes and paving at the railway station).

Ours isn’t.

The people of Grimsby do want nice housing, shops and to promote health and well-being. However, we care about our green space, supporting businesses that are part of our town’s revival and getting access to a GP or Dentist.  We care about being connected to the wider world by our trains, we care about bringing back the art works that we have sold off, we care about restoring buildings that were once grand.

This is our ambition.  Developing our town, not wrecking it with narrow-minded and short-term ill-thought through action.

And yet, if you look at social media all these mainstream causes are supported by protest groups, who are at odds with you.

When the protest groups reflect the thoughts of the majority and not the few, then they cease to be protest groups.  They are our society.

And now, due to the sheer volume and diversity of people and issues that form the protest, the council has actually become the protest group.    It is you that is disenfranchised, irrelevant, not cared about – despite being relied upon – and without a mandate to represent. That is why voting turnout is so low.

What do you actually stand for?  Who is campaigning for the build on Freshney Parkway, why and with what support?  Who wanted to buy Freshney Place?  Who wants the cycle lane down Great Coates Rd?  Who wanted to sell off our statues and fountains?  Who wants to prop up Trans-Pennine Express?  Who is driving the vision for the regeneration of the docks?  Who is sorting out our collapsing local health and social care system?  Who is sorting out the fly-tipping and rat-infested alleyways.

The answer is these so-called protest groups.  The people who litter pick.  The river canoe man.  The friends of Freshney Valley.  The answer is not the people who are paid to do it.  The council.  The councillors (with the notable exception of a few who are, more often than not tied-up by party political rope).  Any of us who read your response to a letter from those campaigning to keep the Freshney Valley green can only have reacted in one way.

I have never seen such a passive aggressive, patronising piece of correspondence from a representative to a person they are meant to be representing.  In sharp contrast to LPD’s well thought through set of questions, we received a reply that failed to address any issues and came with a virtual pat on the head and whisper of “there, there”.  Mr Jackson, this behaviour will get you unelected at the next opportunity.  If you continue to participate in the destruction of the things our people hold dear, you will only hasten your departure.

So, what is going to happen next?

Well, we are seeing it aren’t we?  An Independent Councillor is driving change.  He isn’t a crackpot.  He isn’t driven by self-interest.  He isn’t tied to a party.  It seems to me he is a person with the right values, campaigning on behalf of the people he lives among.  The work of East Marsh Utd has highlighted how it is possible to achieve all the things we want to achieve for our neighbourhoods, without party allegiance and in a way that makes economic sense.  Now, I feel that people like me have role models.  Apolitical people who are passionate about our area and don’t care for the conventional mechanics of local government.  How many of us may stand in the next local elections, on a charter of representing what people want and so gaining a mandate for change.

A lot I think.

Here is Coun Jackson’s reply in full and unedited:

Thank you for your open letter. We are a listening administration and always welcome hearing the views of our residents.  I would like to respond to a number of points in your letter, particularly the inaccuracies.

Firstly, we certainly do have a mandate. We hold 30 of the 42 seats on North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) and have councillors in all but two of the wards across North East Lincolnshire (NEL).  In the May local elections, we polled a third more votes than the next nearest party (Labour). We fought those elections on a published manifesto. Our councillors are in regular contact with the electors they live among via ward surgeries, email, door-knocking and social media. We hold regular Cabinet listening events; the next one is planned for September.  You will be very welcome to come along to talk to us.

I agree with you that voting turnout in local elections is too low but that has been the case for many years.  I have been involved in elections in Grimsby since the late 1970s and turnouts now are very similar and are comparable to other local authorities up and down the country.

You are right that Grimsby (and NEL in general) is “enjoying a resurgence in civic pride, community spirit and economic regeneration”, which is fantastic.  Much is led by the private sector, as it needs to be, with major investments in offshore renewable energy, the innovative low carbon sector, ports and logistics and seafood processing.  Collaboration between the Council, private sector and the community is strong and productive.  This is recognised by central Government and has been key to our success in attracting grant monies – more than £40 million for Grimsby town centre projects alone over the past two years.  Furthermore, we have just submitted Levelling Up Fund bids worth an additional £40 million for Grimsby and £18.5 million for Cleethorpes based on substantial public consultation and engagement around the Grimsby Town Centre Masterplan and Cleethorpes Masterplan.  We continue to consult on individual projects within these masterplans; we have just launched the consultation on the upgrading of Riverhead Square.

Freshney Place is not “a failed business” as you allege.  The Council has purchased it because it is a huge part of Grimsby town centre and we want to ensure it can be used in ways that contribute to the wider regeneration and renaissance of the town centre, which most people want to see.  The purchase comes at no direct cost to the council tax paying public, with a combination of grant-funding and rents covering associated and ongoing costs.

More businesses, jobs and prosperity are coming to NEL based on an ambitious and aspirational Local Development Plan which is certainly not “limited to incessant housebuilding” as you suggest.  This plan was unanimously agreed by NELC in March 2018, following public consultation and clearly designates land for a wide range of uses across the borough.  While it includes sites earmarked for housing, there is considerable land set aside as parks and open spaces.  Indeed, we have a plan and cash allocated to upgrade these.  We have a Green Space Strategy and in the last year have adopted a Carbon Roadmap and a Natural Assets Plan, both designed to maintain and improve our local environment.  Many housing sites in the Local Plan are town centre brownfield sites.  We are about to commence a review of the Local Plan and look forward to extensive public involvement in the process.

Grimsby West, which features in the current Local Plan, will be a privately owned, developer-led housing site with associated infrastructure if it proceeds.  There will be full engagement and consultation through the statutory planning process.  NELC is not part of this proposed development.

This Conservative administration has not spent any money on “paving at the railway station” as you allege.  That was completed several years ago under the previous Labour administration.  You may not want new cycle lanes, but many people do, provided they are in the right locations.  They have the potential to help reduce carbon and pollution emissions and contribute to health and wellbeing.  We are not currently installing a cycle lane along Great Coates Road as you allege; we are merely asking the public for their views on the idea.  If people don’t want it then it won’t happen, just as proposals for a cycle lane along Weelsby Road were scrapped when it became clear that the public didn’t support it.

As an administration, we have not sanctioned the sale of any statues, fountains or art works, as you allege, nor would we ever do so.  We are not “propping up Trans-Pennine Express”.  You ask, “who is driving the vision for the regeneration of the docks?”  That is Associated British Ports, the port owners.  As a result of recent legislative changes, the Council is now working with the NHS as part of the new Integrated Care System to bring about improvements to the local health and social care system, though problems getting GP and dentist appointments are outside the remit of the Council.

Over the past couple of years, we have completely overhauled the waste and recycling collection arrangements in NEL.   This is one of our statutory duties and the improvements have been almost universally welcomed and have resulted in higher recycling rates, less litter blowing around our streets and less fly-tipping.  We have also increased the number of fly-tipping prosecutions and issued more fines for littering.  We clear up fly-tipping when it is on public land but many of the “rat infested alleyways” (your words) are privately owned and people need to take responsibility for them rather than expecting the Council to clear them repeatedly at great cost to the tax payer.

We are not complacent and recognise there is still much to do.  We are passionate about improving NEL for all of its resident, moving the area forward by attracting more and better-paid jobs, the regeneration of our towns, improved housing and better services.  However, as a Council, we don’t have the resources or capacity to do all of this and, frankly, it’s not healthy if we do everything.  The only way it will be sustainable and long-lasting is if the community and community groups are intrinsically involved in bringing about and supporting the changes.  That’s why we are keen to encourage self-reliance and enable and support community groups where they trying to make a positive difference.  We also want to retain and preserve the best from the past, including “restoring buildings that were once grand” where we can.  This is clearly an objective we share and just some examples of delivering on this are the Victoria Mills grain silo, a high-profile one, along with several historic building associated with Scartho Cemetery.

There is a legitimate debate to be had about the best way to move the area forward and we welcome informed discussions with you and others.  Indeed, this is a cornerstone of the democratic process.  However, making unsubstantiated allegations and attributing actions and motivations to us as an administration which are clearly untrue is no way to progress.

Funding to remove chewing gum stains from our high streets

New Government action to crack down on litter on our high streets has been set out today (6 August), with more than 40 councils across the UK awarded grants of up to £70,000 to remove chewing gum stains.

North East Lincolnshire Council is among the first winners of funding as part of the Government’s new Chewing Gum Task Force, helping to reinvigorate our country’s towns and cities by funding efforts to clean up streets.

Established by Defra and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the Task Force aims to clean gum off pavements and put in measures to stop it being dropped in the first place.

Cllr Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for Environment and Transport at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “It’s great news that our bid for this funding was successful. The £20,000 will be a big help for our street cleansing team and will improve the look of Grimsby town centre.

“Chewing gum stains are difficult and time-consuming to remove, often requiring specialist cleaning fluid and equipment.

“We submitted a bid to help clean up the paving in Grimsby town centre, similar to what we did in Cleethorpes last year. We’ll be cleaning the paving in the next couple of months.

“Of course, it would be much better if people put their gum in a bin rather than leaving it to litter the streets.”

Estimates suggest the annual clean-up cost of chewing gum for councils in the UK is around £7 million and according to Keep Britain Tidy, around 87% of England’s streets are stained with gum.

The funding announced today is the first tranche of a package worth up to £10 million from major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle to tackle chewing gum stains – the investment will be spread over five years.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Littering blights our towns and costs taxpayers money. Working with responsible gum manufacturers, we are now giving councils extra help to clean up our cities and towns.

“This means we can double down on regenerating our high streets, boosting local economies and levelling up communities across the country.” 

Funding will cover: 

  • Grants of up £20,000 for councils including Leicester, Hull, Croydon, Southend, Lewisham and Colchester to purchase cleaning equipment as well as receiving signage to warn people not to litter gum – previous pilots run by Mars Wrigley and not-for-profit Behaviour Change using this signage have reduced gum littering by up to 64%.
  • Long-term monitoring of gum litter levels and the effects of intervention for four councils including Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newport.
  • £70,000 for several council partnerships – including Bury and Bolton, Camden and Brent, and Nottingham and Derby.

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “This is an exciting new opportunity for councils to tackle the ongoing problem of gum pollution. The grants will allow councils to clean up historic gum litter staining in our towns and cities, as well as taking action to prevent people littering in the first place.”

Ana Baptista, Corporate Affairs Director, Mars Wrigley UK, said: “Mars Wrigley has invested in campaigns to tackle litter across the UK for many years. Through our partnership with Behaviour Change we have developed interventions proven to reduce gum littering which have already been used by over 100 councils.

“We are delighted to see these deployed as part of the Chewing Gum Task Force Grant Scheme and look forward to having many more councils on board.”

Hayley Osborne Communications and Sustainability Manager, Perfetti Van Melle, said: “As a manufacture of gum products we are aware of the unfortunate impact our products can cause to cities and towns. By working together with industry peers, councils, and customers, we can also help be part of the solution, helping to clean-up our streets and educating consumers on the importance of safe gum disposal. 

“In addition, we are also working on our own campaigns to support our customers, with on-package signage and labelling to help work towards a circular, long-term solution.”

This forms part the Government’s new strategy to support the evolution and regeneration of high streets- external site  across the country, which includes 15 Town Deals- external site  totalling £335 million to fund community regeneration projects, the transformation of derelict buildings, and communities being given the chance to own local pubs, theatres, sports grounds and corner shops.

Littering is a criminal offence, and the UK Government has already bolstered local authorities enforcement powers by increasing the on-the-spot penalties for littering to £150 in England. Councils can also take offenders to court, which can result in a fine of up to £2,500 if convicted.

Through the Environment Act, the Government will be able to ensure that enforcement powers are used with a high degree of professionalism, whether by council staff or private contractors, and place our improved enforcement guidance on a firm statutory footing.

This forms part of wider government action to tackle litter and protect our environment.  We plan to launch a deposit return schemes for drinks containers- external site extended producer responsibility for packaging- external site  and consistent recycling collections- external site  which will transform the way we deal with our rubbish.

Article and image from NELC.