South Kesteven councillor calls for abolition of county council

South Kesteven District Council
South Kesteven District Council
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A South Kesteven district councillor is demanding Lincolnshire County Council is abolished, with unitary authorities taking its place.

Coun Ashley Baxter accuses the county council of being distant, out of touch and giving areas away from Lincoln, such as Grantham, Stamford and the Deepings, poorer services.

The Market and West Deepings Independent has submitted a motion to this Thursday’s full meeting of South Kesteven District Council.

Coun Baxter’s motion said: “The current three-tier system of Local Authorities is outdated and ineffective.

“The bureaucracy of Lincolnshire County Council is geographically remote and has become out-of-touch with the needs and aspirations of residents across the County.

“This Council resolves to work towards:

a)the abolition of the Lincolnshire County Council; and

b)the devolution of power, assets and finance to a number of unitary authorities, each of a more appropriate size.

“This Council mandates its Leader, Cabinet and Senior Officers to lobby the Secretary of State for Communities, and other appropriate authorities including local MPs, regarding the abolition of the County Council and the establishment of smaller unitary authorities to better serve the needs of people living and working in Lincolnshire.”

Coun Baxter told the Journal he belives in power being devolved from top to bottom to give people more control.

This was true whether it was devolving power from Brussels to Britain, Westminster to the counties and so on.

He had no issue with town and parish councils as they are managed by volunteers in their communities.

“A lot of decisions made in Lincoln would be better made in Grantham, the Deepings and so on, with the budgets to go with it.”

Unitary councils could feature the districts gaining powers for themselves, or combining with neighbouring councils.

Coun Baxter is open to South Kesteven either running itself or combining with North Kesteven or South Holland.

He continued: “Already the council shares services with Rutland for planning and finance and there are proposals in the forthcoming budget to say there should be more. HR has been mentioned.”

This meant that unitary councils could achieve tsimilar economies of scale as larger councils.

He added Lincoln County Council is remoter giving poor service to its outlying districts, there is duplication as seven councillors sit on both South Kesteven and the county council. Services are also duplicated, such as streetlighting and waste recycling leading to confusion over which council is responsible.

“People don’t know who is responsible, all they care about is the service is provided.”

Thursday’s meeting of full council is at 2pm.