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Leader of South Kesteven District Council Kelham Cooke talks about making the most a different kind of summer

Kelham Cooke, leader of South Kesteven District Council, talks about making the most of a different kind of summer in his column this week:

Summer has a very strange feel to it this year.

On the one hand, we are enjoying a regained sense of freedom as restrictions continue to be lifted following months of lockdown; on the other hand, many families and individuals have cancelled planned vacations in far-flung destinations either through necessity or because they prefer to stay closer to home at the moment. Either way, life still feels, and is, very different from 12 months ago.

However, we are blessed to live in an amazing district; we have so much right here on our doorstep. True, our usual programme of summer activities has had to be postponed.

SKDC leader Coun Kelham Cooke
SKDC leader Coun Kelham Cooke

But we do have wonderful parks, an abundance of green open spaces, paths along meandering canals, rivers, and heritage. South Kesteven is, quite simply, beautiful. At the council, we are determined to keep it that way.

Throughout the next couple of months, work is continuing on a new corporate plan, a blueprint that is being developed with members to give us a framework and focus to support our activities and make a real difference to our residents and businesses.

Our approach will be holistic, our vison and priorities clear, and our values customer-focused.

There has been much talk of late about the devolution of powers from Government to councils, and the reorganisation of councils within our county, across our districts and Greater Lincolnshire.

We look forward of the launch of the Government’s White Paper for Devolution and Local Government Re-organisation in the autumn. We will read with interest what it has to say about the future shape of local government and the direction of travel.

We have worked effectively together across Lincolnshire and with leaders, volunteers, residents and businesses within our districts and our communities in our fight against Covid-19. We’ve achieved a great deal, and we have shown what community spirit, collaboration and partnership can do.

Last week, I was invited to speak at a local property development conference about meeting the challenges of house building recovery. I made it clear that affordable housing for all our residents is vital because enabling a variety of people to make their homes in an area creates communities, and it is our communities that make us strong. I believe that together we stand stronger. That message applies to every aspect of our lives. This is what we have learned, or been reminded of, over past months. Our job now, individually and collectively, is to remember where our strength lies, and hold true to our convictions.

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