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Our candidate for Gainsborough Rural South: Baptiste Velan

April 16, 2021 10:24 AM

I am a Director of a small company based in Gainsborough and I have previously worked in telecommunications, aviation and the navy. I have lived in Gainsborough for over 10 years after having lived in London, Wales, and France. I am a member of the Gainsborough Rotary Club and I have been recently co-opted as a School Governor. My partner has always lived in Gainsborough.

I was elected as a Gainsborough town councillor in 2019 and became the Chair of the Community Services Committee in 2020.

Making Gainsborough a great town again

If Gainsborough, the main town of West Lindsey thrives again, it will benefit all the surrounding towns and villages in West Lindsey. I have been thinking of 3 main elements that I would fight for:

1. Review the location of essential public services and protect them

The district Council has focused on Marshalls' Yard. The town centre and the riverside and many other parts of the town have been abandoned. WLDC relocated from the riverside to Marshalls' Yard, the job centre rellocating within the district council; HRMC and the Magistrate Court got knocked down.

Most of these public services made people go through the town centre to keep it busy; now they have gone, why would people need to go there? I believe this is one the reasons our town centre has declined.

We need to rethink the Town and get essential services spread in different areas of the town, instead of being concentrated in one single area. Spreading essential services across the town is essential to the survival of small local businesses. There's also concerns about our unique local hospital, John Coupland; the lack of policing in Gainsborough. Do you remember the "police house" on middlefield lane (Gainsborough Uphill) which has disappeared too? We need to stop all these services from disappearing slowly while our town is growing.

We can get Gainsborough thriving again, and it will benefit the people and businesses across West Lindsey.

2. Green spaces, public footpath, Sports and use the Trent again.

I want to work on a strategy to put green spaces (including ancient woodland), leisure, and sports as a priority.

When new housing development are agreed, we should be sure they are environmentally friendly and that a portion of the lost land or more will be given back as new woodland or park to create a public place for people to exercise, relax and enjoy. Green space and having space for everyone is something we really need to take seriously in times of pandemic.

I want to restore public footpaths and create appropriate cycling paths and lanes where walkers, cyclists and drivers feel safe at any age.

I would like the Trent to be used again as an asset for all; leisure, sports or commercial. What about more shops on the Riverside, more barges mooring? The Trent is an asset that could be used to help our town thrive again. This asset has been totally overlooked by West Lindsey and Lincolnshire County Council.

3. Save the Heritage

There is an amazing amount of heritage assets here to be proud of. We need to properly protect this rich heritage as this could bring visitors and tourism and then benefit West Lindsey businesses and provide jobs.

From Gainsborough Old Hall to Torksey Castle (whose ruins are slowly crumbling away), Gainsborough still has a huge amount of heritage which should be preserved and put into good use such as the dilapidated former Lea road school which is still for sale (https://realla-media.freetls.fastly.net/uploads/property/brochures/original/UDJcZx1_Ay9Axi4ZJ0N3Ug) until it gets knocked down! It should be the responsibility of the District and the County council to step in and save these landmarks from being destroyed. I will fight for this.

What I have done and still working on

  • I have contributed to road speeding limits for schools. I was amazed to hear this was not automatically done by LCC. When Castle Wood Academy approached me, I did everything I could to help them have a speeding limit and I am glad to say it happened.
  • I also asked Gainsborough Town Council to create a Covid recovery grant to help local community organisations who work hard to help residents.
  • I've spoken with Gainsborough businesses about the street signage as it is often outdated and wrong, delivering a wrong image of our town. I submitted this to WLDC and LCC.
  • I'm part of the West Lindsey Green spaces forum and I am working with Gainsborough Trinity Foundation to promote sports on an ongoing basis.
  • There's still a lot to do and I'm counting on you to help me represent your voice at Lincolnshire County Council.

Volunteer to help Baptiste become your county councillor

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