First Grantham area meeting attracts lively debate
The first meeting of a town committee got off to a healthy start as councillors, business people and members of the public filled the meeting room in the town museum on Wednesday.
The Grantham Area Committee was launched by county councillor Richard Davies in a bid to highlight local issues, debate them and address them.
Coun Davies said he wanted the meeting to be free of political bias. He said: “Grantham has been let down by big party politics.”
The meeting was chaired by Jeff Thompson, a former district councillor for more than 40 years, who presided over an agenda which included highways matters, planning and policing.
The relief road attracted much debate and arguments both for and against it.
Coun Davies, portfolio holder for highways, told the meeting the relief road would be finished by the end of 2018 and built in three phases.
The relief road is being built in conjunction with a planned 4,000 houses in the southern quadrant of the town. But some residents feared that the road infrastructure would not be able to cope with the increase in traffic the extra housing would produce. There were fears that the junction between London Road and Bridge End Road could become gridlocked and more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.
It was agreed a planning officer should be invited to the next meeting of the committee.
Concern was also expressed over taxis parking in parking bays instead of taxi ranks, such as the one created recently in Conduit Lane.
Westgate jeweller John Cussell told the meeting he did not understand why parking restrictions should run for such a long period, from 6am until 7pm, which did not help those businesses which needed to unload large deliveries during the day.
Residents in the Manthorpe Road area also expressed their fears over plans by Larkfleet Homes to build 550 houses next to the Manthorpe estate.
One resident said he was tiered of the “rumour machine” and wanted to know how Larkfleet could put in another plan for 550 homes after it initially planned more than 1,000 homes there.
Coun Davies said Grantham did not have a Local Plan that had been agreed and this would go out to public consultation in October.
Inspector Gary Stewart, of Grantham Police, gave the meeting an overview of crime in the area.
Members of the audience raised issues of cycling on pavements in the town centtre, drug use and dealing, and fewer PCSOs patrolling on foot. Insp Stewart said police would always investigate burglaries after it was said some crimes do not get investigated by the police.
It is hoped to hold four meetings of the Grantham Area Committee every year. It was agreed to invite the appropriate council officers to the next meeting so that questions could be answered on the night.