Town ‘at its lowest ebb’

Rusty, unloved street furniture in Sleaford's Southgate. EMN-170509-120213001
Rusty, unloved street furniture in Sleaford's Southgate. EMN-170509-120213001

A senior town councillor has called for a joint approach by local authorities to address a concerning decline in appearance of the town.

Former Mayor and local businessman Coun Mark Graves presented a troubling report to members of Sleaford Town Council last week in which he said: “The current appearance of our town is at the lowest ebb I have seen for many years.”

Shrubs sprouting on Carre Street and Money's Yard in Sleaford. EMN-170509-120135001

Shrubs sprouting on Carre Street and Money's Yard in Sleaford. EMN-170509-120135001

He understood authorities and organisations were under increased pressure to cut costs with dwindling finances, but he said: “We cannot hope to encourage and initiate major developments without demonstrating that as a town we can undertake basic maintenance of all areas and assets in public ownership.”

Of particular concern, he highlighted the overgrown state of Southgate level crossing and Galley Hill bridge on Lincoln Road; the state of street furniture, railings and fences within the town centre and outlying areas, increased weeds in gutters, kerbs, pavements; footway and cycle links in town, overgrown areas in public ownership.

Coun Graves told members of the Town Council: “To address the above requires a joint approach, cooperation and partnership from more than one authority responsible for the town.”

He, along with Deputy Mayor Coun Anthony Brand recommended town, district and county councils to hold joint meetings on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, inviting others on board when appropriate and call the body Sleaford Pride. He suggested setting up an email address for the public to report problem areas.

Paths and roadside railings overgrown with weeds on Galley Hill in Sleaford. EMN-170509-120048001

Paths and roadside railings overgrown with weeds on Galley Hill in Sleaford. EMN-170509-120048001

Councillors agreed to place the initiative on the agenda of the next Sleaford Regeneration Group on September 25, as it includes representatives of the bodies and stakeholders that need to be involved.

The town council has offered to be the facilitator of the new group. Clerk to the Town Council Kevin Martin told The Standard that a similar initiative has been started in South Kesteven with a ‘grotspot’ reporting system, and a Big Clean community scheme over the summer.

Mr Martin said: “I would love to ask my team to tidy up footpaths along Westbanks, Eastbanks and Galley Hill to improve the area, but I would have to seek permission and have the manpower, and we would need assistance from those other stakeholders as, for example, we do not own a mechanical roadsweeper which could make a difference with some kerbside issues we are seeing. Some have gone beyond that, such as a buddleia growing on Carre Street.”

l Do you think this is a good idea? Email: andy.hubbert@jpress.co.uk or comment on our Facebook page.

l Lincolnshire County Council is also looking at ways to address some of these issues with a new scheme that would allow parishes to take on some minor maintenance jobs when necessary.