By Local Democracy Reporter

The council has defended hopes to establish a grammar school in North East Lincolnshire after critics said it would send education backwards.

Leaders say it would keep children who are currently sent to Louth or Caistor in the North East Lincolnshire borough.

However, Labour councillors said schools should look forward, not backward to “Victorian” grammar schools.

They also accused them of failing working class children.

Grammar schools select their pupils using exams known as the 11-plus and have become controversial.

The aspiration to establish one in North East Lincolnshire was included in the council plan, which was passed at a full meeting on Thursday.

No concrete plans have been revealed.

Councillor Jackson said: “We will work with education providers to improve secondary attainment, supporting the development of alternative secondary provision where there are clear benefits.

“I would remind members, and some of the newer ones may be unaware, that it remains this council’s policy to support the establishment of a grammar school within the borough.

“A grammar school would help to attract and retain parents who are currently sending children out of the area to Louth and Caistor.

“That isn’t good for North East Lincolnshire, and it adds a lot of unnecessary travel which isn’t good for the environment.”

Grammar schools were once widespread across England but have lost support over the years.

There are currently around 160 left, including Caistor Grammar School and King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth.

Labour councillors slammed the proposal.

Councillor Rodwell responded: “There is nothing new and exciting in the council’s plan.

“We want to deliver a good education for all students, not just looking at a few.

“Bright pupils should have good opportunities for education [in the mainstream system].

“We need to be looking forwards – this takes us back to Victorian times.”

Councillor Green added: “Grammar schools fail working class people.

“We’ve all heard the stories about them sending children home for inappropriate clothing – it happens all the time.

“Working class people are being priced out and can’t afford to send their children there.”

Plans to dig up more than 400,000 tonnes of sand to build a site for 350 caravans and leisure facilities, have sparked concern from Caistor residents.

A request for a screening opinion for a proposed leisure and tourism development on land south of North Kesley Road, also including a pub and restaurant, a convenience store and supermarket and a two-storey leisure centre, has been submitted to West Lindsey District Council by Ben Gibson.

Screening opinions usually precede full planning applications and assess whether specific reports will be needed as part of the development package – in this case the request looks at an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Documents submitted to the council outline how the 400,000 tonnes of sand would be transported to Welton Quarry over a four year period to be used in concrete production.

Afterwards the space will be replaced with quarry fines and stone, before a three-phase leisure scheme would begin.

  • Phase One would include 45 caravans, the pub and restaurant, the store, an angling supplies store, a two storey leisure centre and a fishing lake.
  • Phase two would see 94 caravans added to the site alongside an ornamental pond and another fishing lake.
  • Phase three would see 218 caravans built, along with “The Boathouse” coffee shop and storage facility for windsurfers and canoes, alongside a further fishing lake and an ornamental lake.

The request has already received around 50 responses from local residents concerned over the impact of an increase in noise and traffic as well as the loss of the landscape and identity of Caistor.

A letter to the authority from a Ms E Collins, of Hansard Crescent, said the plans were “almost as large as Caistor itself”.

“This is insanely huge for a caravan site in an area which is mean to be one of outstanding natural beauty,” she said.

“This would seriously detract from the beautiful views that can be seen all around Caistor.”

Adam Martin, of North Kesley Road, said the village did not have enough parking and already had traffic issues. He said the site would risk losing evidence of Roman history around the area.

“I’m truly worried this development is going to change Caistor into a holiday camp,” he said.

An indicative site layout submitted to West Lindsey District Council.

Residents also fear the impact on existing businesses, especially those which already provide services proposed within the plans.

Lincolnshire County Council has told West Lindsey Council the EIA would need to be provided.

It has also said any application to extract minerals from the site should be considered a “county matter” and that applications should go to them.

The exploitation of the mineral reserves and disposal of waste appears to be the primary motivation for the proposal as there appears to be no evidence to support or demonstrate a need for the leisure development of this size or scale within this location,” said the council.

The applicants acknowledged that there would be impacts arising from the development, but said they would be addressed.

They said the development would include “best practice methods of working” and “appropriate mitigation” would be provided.

“The nature of the proposed development is of a type which are typical across the UK and would not result in any unusual, complex or potentially hazardous environmental effects,” said the document.

“Nor would any effects extend over a wide area in the context of the existing site.”

It is understood a meeting about the plans will take place at 6.30pm on Wednesday, February 9, at Caistor Town Hall.

Caistor Food Bank is working hard to help local people in need in the run up to Christmas, and is delighted to have seen a recent spike in food and financial donations after coverage in The Lincolnite.

The Lincolnite reported last month that volunteers at the food bank were urgently appealing for donations.

They helped 1,500 adults and 920 children since opening inside the Methodist Church Hall on Chapel Street in February this year.

Brian Milne, who manages to food bank with his wife Sue, said that they received a donations as a result of the article from people wanting to make sure their clients had food over the festive holidays, including £500 from Market Rasen Rotary Club.

The club’s president David Mason, secretary Joseph Bowman, and community service chair Malcolm Simpson met with the food bank’s managers to hand over the cheque, to help them continue their good work.

Councillor Steven Critten, of Caistor Town Council, donated £150 for the purchase of a gammon joint to be used in each food parcel. Fellow councillor Stephen Hodson donated £250 to help ensure all the food bank’s clients have enough food for Christmas.

Kate Hills, the pastor from Springs Church in Caistor, donated some desserts, North Kelsey Primary School gave food leftovers from a recent party, while the local Lincolnshire Co-op community champion will be donating wrapped up brand new toys, so the food bank’s clients all have something to open on Christmas Day.

Brian & Sue Milne going out to deliver food to the food bank’s elderly & disabled clients.

Brian, who is part of a team of 25 volunteers at the food bank, told The Lincolnite: “We were delighted to receive this donation from Market Rasen Rotary Club. Our trustees have decided to give all our clients a Christmas food parcel with these funds so all our clients receive a nice Christmas food parcel from Caistor Food Bank.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to Market Rasen Rotary Club along with Kate Hills from Springs Church, North Kelsey Primary School, Councillor Steven Critten & Councillor Stephen Hodson from Caistor Town Council for all the very kind donations.

“We’ve had a number of donations from residents where members of the public have walked in and made individual donations to us, which is brilliant because before we were really struggling.”

The Caistor Food Bank liaises with similar organisations in Immingham, Brigg, and Market Rasen, supporting families not just in Caistor but also in the surrounding villages.

People can bring in donations during the food bank’s opening hours or put them in the allocated baskets at the Lincolnshire Co-op stores in Caistor and Keelby.

People can self-refer to the food bank with a few bits of qualifying paperwork, or be referred via social services, GPs, schools, housing associations, or many other partnership organisations.

Caistor Food Bank is run by a team of 25 volunteers.

Caistor Food Bank is open between 11am and 2pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but can take emergency food parcels when required outside of these hours.

During the festive period, the food bank is only closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. It is open between those dates on December 29 between 11am until 2pm.

Anyone requiring emergency food parcels outside the food bank’s opening hours should call 0771 4624608, except for on December 25-26 and 31, and January 1 where it will be a voicemail service only.

Food donations

Food donations are needed now more than ever, with a definite need for tinned, longer shelf-life, items such as:

  • Tinned vegetables
  • Tinned potatoes
  • Tinned sandwich meats
  • Toilet rolls
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Tinned ravioli
  • Tinned hot dogs
  • Biscuits
  • Crisps
  • Dilutable squash
  • UHT Milk
  • Butter/margarine

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