Whilst leafleting in the Grantham North West division over the last few days I have spoken to residents about their concerns and what they want their councillor and council to do to positively impact on their lives.
The conditions of Grantham’s roads feature highly in resident’s concerns, with some showing me the damage to their cars and the cost they have incurred in getting them repaired. I recognise that the deterioration of Grantham’s roads has been startling over recent times. As a driver I notice the potholes, I report them too. Sometimes I see them get repaired only for them to reappear a short time later. This cannot be a cost-effective approach and more needs to be done to prioritise road repairs to minimise the spend on the public purse repairing the repairs.
Bus routes is the second most common theme I am encountering and there is genuine anger amongst residents of the recent changes after the end of the pump funding from Lincolnshire County Council. For my part, I completely understand this anger. I have questioned Cllr. Richard Davies on the decision-making process over the three-year lifespan of the pump funding and he came up with no answers. There are no publicly available reports, progress analysis, milestone reviews or any operational statistics to back up the decision-making process that led to vital bus routes being cancelled.
Cllr. Davies’ response was to blame it on an “operator decision” however Lincolnshire County Council were a partner in this operation with a vested interest in ensuring that it was successful. The question is did Lincolnshire County Council live up to their side of the bargain by monitoring the progress of the impact of their money? Or was it simply wasted?
I must also admit there was a certain amount of ambivalence to my presence on streets with a few people completely disillusioned with the political processes therefore unwilling to entertain anything I had to say. Although this is frustrating, I do feel this is a legacy of an environment of politics that is divorced from the local community. A group of stuffed shirts making decisions in Lincoln with little or no idea of the impact it will have in Grantham.
I aim to change this. My politics are and will continue to be grounded in the community I represent. I aim to engage with everyone, irrespective of their background, environment or political persuasion. A new kind of politics for a new era.