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Devolution could be visited again, says county leader

The Greater Lincolnshire devolution deal could be revisited after council leaders across the region held informal discussions with the government.

It comes as the leader of Lincolnshire County Council said that there is an “opportunity to revisit’ plans for a deal for more devolved powers from Westminster.

Coun Martin Hill told councillors at a full council meeting that informal discussions had been held between the government and the 10 leaders of councils across the region.

A deal was previously proposed in the region but voted down by Lincolnshire County Council and South Kesteven District Council in 2016.

Yet Coun Hill said that the plans could now be revisited. He said: "The government have some manifesto commitments about combined authorities. There is a feeling that maybe Lincolnshire is an area that could be considered.

“The 10 council leaders have had discussions informally with the government and there is a feeling that it's worth exploring again."

He added that everybody in the council would like more services to be devolved to the region.

Leader of North Kesteven District Council, Coun Richard Wright, said that discussions were ongoing with other authorities.

He said: “There are discussions on several fronts and with various agencies and authorities as to exploring ways of working together going forward.

“At this stage there are no commitments or deals to be discussed, however NKDC will look to secure the best way forward for its residents and the residents of wider Lincolnshire.”

Further meetings are planned with the government and council leaders.

In 2016, the Greater Lincolnshire devolution deal was rejected over fears that an elected mayor would have created more bureaucracy.

The deal on offer would have created a new combined authority, with a directly elected mayor.

The new authority would also have received £15 million a year for the next 30 years for infrastructure projects.

Current combined authorities include Greater Manchester, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, West Midlands and the Sheffield City Region.

Meanwhile, Coun Hill recently confirmed that discussions were ongoing with neighbouring Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire county councils about working closer together.

He said the plans were not for a ‘super council’ and were about sharing services and seeking more devolved powers.

A closer relationship between the county councils has been dubbed a ‘strategic alliance’ and could see them submit funding bids to government for major transport improvements on roads such as the A46, which cuts through the Midlands.


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