Councillor Bob Bushell, Portfolio Holder for Remarkable Place, presented a report on the work of his portfolio and provided updates on the following areas:
· equipped play areas;
· Boultham Park;
· Hartsholme Country Park and Camp Site;
· the Commons;
· bereavement services and the crematorium;
· food health and safety;
· waste and recycling;
· sport, recreation and leisure services.
Councillor Pat Vaughan, promoted woodland burials as a sustainable alternative to cremation and use of cemeteries but acknowledged that this did not take place in Lincoln. He questioned how many people had recently been buried at the cemetery on Long Leas Road.
Councillor Bushell confirmed that woodland burials were not undertaken in the city, however, there were other agencies in Lincolnshire that did provide such a ceremony. The City Council was increasingly using the cemetery at Long Leas road, with 95 burials having occurred there in recent months. There were sustainable options available in Lincoln, with an increased use of wicker coffins as opposed to traditional wood. Additionally, enviro-board coffins could be used at the crematorium which released lower emissions when burnt.
Councillor Christopher Reid queried the section of the report in relation to bus shelters where it had been claimed that funding was withdrawn by necessity of government imposed cuts. He argued that the withdrawal of funding for bus shelters had not been imposed by the government and had in fact been a decision of the administration.
Councillor Bushell, in response, highlighted that significant cuts in local government funding as part of the government’s austerity measures had led to the Council having to make difficult decisions regarding its prioritisation of resources.
Councillor Toofany highlighted the problem of fly-tipping, which he felt had significantly increased in some areas. He asked what more could be done to identify those responsible and take necessary action.
Councillor Bushell acknowledged that fly-tipping was a persistent problem but that the Council did try to prevent this where possible and prosecute accordingly where it could.
Councillor Thomas Dyer referred to residents on Hykeham Road last week not having their green bins emptied, which was as a result of sickness absence and a national shortage of HGV refuse collection drivers. He therefore asked what plans were in place to ensure that this situation was managed locally.
Councillor Bushell reported that residents on Hykeham Road had their green bins collected the next day, with messages having been sent out via social media to keep residents as updated as possible. The retention of HGV refuse collection drivers was a national problem, with one of the key issues being that drivers attained their HGV licence but then often moved on to more lucrative jobs such as long-distance lorry driving, for example. Officers were working on ways in which this could be addressed.
Councillor Ronald Hills was concerned that Hartsholme Country Park was rapidly becoming dilapidated, together with bungalows and houses located within its boundary.
Councillor Bushell highlighted that the Council had a good record with the Arboretum and Boultham Park in respect of the restoration and maintenance of parks and was very positive about the future of Hartsholme Country Park. He acknowledged that this would require a bid via the National Heritage Lottery Fund in the same way that had been the case with Boultham Park and was sure that this would be achieved in due course.
The report was noted.