Andrew Abbott's Blog

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Lincolnshire this week.

The consultation period on plans to build two footbridges over the railway at Lincoln has been extended to give people more chance to have their say. Hundreds went to view the plans at two separate venues in Lincoln city centre, appropriately either side of the level crossings with most firmly in favour of the bridges but those that went to view want to know how the crossings will look. Phil Verster, route managing director for Network Rail, they received "strong support" for the bridges from the majority of the 600 people who went to have a look and a chat with the representatives of the initiative.

"We intend to have detailed designs to share with the people of Lincoln next month, allowing time for further comments before we submit a planning application," he said.

"We regularly see people rushing across the level crossings once the warnings have started," he added.

"We even have instances of people lifting the barriers. Clearly this behaviour is highly reckless and dangerous.

"Much level crossing misuse results from people not thinking about the risks but we believe frustration caused by the location of the crossings is also a factor in Lincoln."

A round the country kayaker is due off the coast of Lincolnshire shortly. Dr Martin Lee set himself the challenge of canoeing right around the coast of the UK and is due to stop off in Skegness next week. The intrepid paddler is hoping to complete the 2500 mile epic journey to raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis. In a charming tale he set off from Deptford but, in the Bristol Channel lost his bearings as high winds and waves disorientated him. Lost and with an increasing sense of hopelessness two dolphins appeared and guided the doc, one dolphin each side, for 15 minutes encouraging him to continue. That wasn’t the end of his woes and the journey round the north east of Scotland almost finished the venture off as he capsized several times before being washed up on the beach. After all that, bracing Skeggy should be a doddle.

It’s almost time for the Olympic Torch to reach civilization and councils have begun to give details of road closures and advise those who wish to see the spectacle to allow plenty of time to secure their place. On 27 June it will pass through Louth, Mablethorpe, Skegness, then move on to Boston and Sleaford before finishing the day in Lincoln. The torch procession spends the night in the city before progressing through Saxilby to deepest Nottinghamshire. Mike Nicholls, highways network manager for Lincolnshire County Council, said: "Businesses, schools, transports and many other services across the county will be affected, so it's important you find out what's happening near you.

"A full list of road closures can be found on your district council's website.

"Some disruption is inevitable so please allow extra time for your journeys, find an alternative route or perhaps reconsider them altogether," he said.

It seems this story just runs and runs but it has been announced that the Red Arrows will be remaining at their Scampton base for the foreseeable future. The base, north of Lincoln will also retain the RAF’s Air Surveillance and Control Systems. The runway will be resurfaced now that the bases future has been assured. Local MP Edward Leigh welcomed the decision and said it was testament to the hard work of local people determined to keep base open:-

“The Red Arrows are a treasured part of Lincolnshire and I welcome their continued presence.

“The MoD’s investment in RAF Scampton’s runway demonstrates a welcome commitment to the future of the base. It is appropriate that the decision to keep open the historic home of 617 Squadron, the Dambusters, comes in the month which a lasting memorial will finally be opened to the brave men of bomber command, many of whom flew from bases in Lincolnshire.

“It is fantastic news that we will keep all the jobs associated not only with the Red Arrows, but also with the ASACS unit, within the local area.

I have always been clear on my desire to keep the Red Arrows flying out of the home of the Dambusters and I welcome the MoD’s vote of confidence in North Lincolnshire.”

It looks like Lincoln Christmas Market will have to do without one of it’s most prominent attractions as the rent on the big wheel was set by Lincoln City Council at £13350, a rise of 93%. The owner of the ride, John Armitage says if that’s the case the wheel will not be appearing at the market this year:-

"We have always turned out and it is a landmark for the city. I just feel I'm being bullied by the council with a 93 per cent increase," said Mr Armitage, who has been involved in the market since 1982.

"If this rise stays then I'll not come. We don't just turn up with a van. I've got the expense of lorries, cranes and three days getting it up and down.

"When the market was cancelled through snow it cost me £10,000 to put it up and take it down and I did not seek compensation from the council.

"I'll have no problem at all getting business if I don't come. I do feel very let down."

The re think on rents has come after the council revealed that it made a £113000 loss on last years extravaganza. Kate Ellis, lead officer examining the proposed market changes, said they are not trying to discourage fair rides:-

"That part of the Christmas Market is really important to us," she said. "The big wheel has become an icon. However, we need some consistency in the way we charge for it. We are not trying to say we don't want it.

"It is a significant rise and I'm not going to deny that. It is a substantial increase.

"The exercise we have gone through is to bring the charges in line with the rest.

"We have only pushed the prices of some stalls up by one per cent as we recognise the economic difficulties.

"We understand the concerns held by Mr Armitage and we are willing to talk to him."

It’ll be here before you know it, especially as summer disappeared before it had started and is showing no sign of getting going again. Whether you’re up up and away or hiding behind the sofa until things improve, have a good weekend.

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