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Making Grantham a better place for everyone

Column by Coun Matthew Lee, leader of South Kesteven District Council

It is hard to believe we are only days away from the end of 2018 – and what a busy year it has been.

The past 12 months, I’ve concentrated on making sure we were not just talking about making South Kesteven better for our residents – we were putting our words into action.

In April, we announced South Kesteven was to be the first district in the county to trial a food waste collection service.

Nearly 4,700 households in parts of Grantham, Stamford, Bourne, The Deepings, and a number of villages were invited to take part and latest figures show that more than 150 tonnes have been collected so far!

I have spent a significant amount of time this year nurturing connections within South Kesteven and building relationships with other individuals and organisations, from other authorities to developers, potential investors to charities and good causes.

It has been a two-way process, exploring ways in which we could support each other and potentially work together, but also sharing experiences, lessons and gaining an external perspective.

We held our fourth Gravity Fields science festival in September and visitors from across the globe came here to get involved in our packed programme of events, which attracted audiences of more than 80,000.

We announced that the future of the festival would be secure and next year we have yet more exciting events including The Deepings Literary Festival, the Bourne CiCLE Festival and the hugely popular Stamford Georgian Festival.

I have said many times that growing our economy is our number one priority. In October, we held our second Business and Economic Summit at Grimsthorpe Castle.

Here we told 150 delegates, from the world of business and education, that 50 companies had made enquiries about expanding into our district. Within weeks we announced that 300 new jobs were being created near Grantham after major international company XPO Logistics were given planning permission to expand into a new £67.1 million state-of-the-art cold store at Easton.

We also held our first LotterySK draw in October and made history as the first ever local lottery to have a £25,000 jackpot winner in the first week, right here in Grantham.

We are now selling about 2,000 tickets a week and should raise over £60,000 for local good causes in the first 12 months. I’m sure you will agree this is fantastic news for all those organisations that make our district a nicer, kinder, more compassionate place to live.

As the year draws to a close, regular visitors to Grantham town centre will see the fantastic progress being made on the new five-screen cinema development in the heart of our leisure and cultural quarter.

We have also begun our public realm works to create a new square in this area and attract new businesses and a place for shoppers, workers and visitors to enjoy.

Finally, as this is the last column of 2018, I would like to wish you all a happy New Year! I look forward to announcing lots more good news for you all in 2019.

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