Date Published: 07 January 2020
As 2019 draws to a close it is good to find time to reflect on what has been a busy and productive year and to look forward to what promises to be a great 2020.
During the last 12 months the Council has not only been successful in providing quality local services – a record 95% of our housing tenants and 94% of broader residents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with what we do – we have also been performing well on the national stage.
In May we delivered the Cabinet Office’s voter identification trial for the district and parish council elections. This involved electors showing either one form of photo ID or two forms of non-photo ID in order to test options for addressing voter fraud. Since then, the principal of Voter ID has been brought forward in the Queen’s Speech as potential legislation.
This was a big change for all of us but great work from the Council teams meant that an incredible 99.64% of voters arrived with the right ID and were able to vote. That’s what I call a job well done!
We were also on the national stage when we were held up in a parliamentary debate as an exemplar of what can be achieved in response to climate change.
We were the first Lincolnshire council to declare a Climate Emergency, committing to reviewing operations to meet the United Nation’s sustainable development goal, and we are now bringing forward an action plan with ambitious targets.
I am very proud that the entire membership of the Council voted unanimously to join the movement to address the climate emergency by 2030. Much of the work needed to meet the UN’s goals has to be done by local councils and given our long-standing emphasis in this area and our legacy of success, North Kesteven is at the forefront of this response.
Late in the year the Council voted to lobby MPs to push forward further responses to carbon reduction including the local generation and supply of electricity. It also voted to take a stand against anti-semitism - with all Members of Council in unanimous agreement.
As a Council we acknowledge and take seriously warnings that urgent action is needed on climate change to avoid runaway global warming and climate breakdown and we are committed to rising to that challenge and to be carbon neutral as soon as possible.
Looking forward to 2020, I’m sure it is going to be a great year throughout the District.
In Sleaford we are committed to making big progress on the development of a £4 million three-screen cinema for the town in a development which will also include a restaurant and food court.
Work is well underway on design concepts and a planning application will be submitted soon.
We are very committed to this project because local people continue to tell us they want a modern multi-screen cinema and we want to continue to meet the needs of a growing and changing town.
At the other end of the District, a £2.2 million investment for a commercial workspace development for 15 new and growing businesses is being progressed for North Hykeham.
The Council already manages 111 workshops across 11 sites. Occupancy levels and demand are both very high.
This new development, known as Discovery Court, will, subject to planning permission, be located alongside other employment and business growth opportunities off Whisby Road and will complement the authority’s existing investments as well as provide starter and growth space for businesses.
In the same area, the second phase of development is underway at St Modwen Park Lincoln, a popular 70-acre industrial and logistics scheme at Witham St Hughs.
Two units of 25,000 and 55,000 square feet will provide high quality industrial and warehouse space with easy access to the A46 dual carriageway and the A1.
We’ve got other projects going on in this area too so I can honestly say that North Kesteven is definitely on the development map, and with plenty of housing plans on the books and an new innovative approach to returning empty homes for use, there’s plenty of action across all of our Priorities.
2020 is going to be a great year for the district and the Council and I will be pleased to keep you informed on how we are progressing as soon as I possibly can. Happy New Year!