Lincolnshire County Councillors agree to public consultation on unitary authority

Lincolnshire County Council offices in Lincoln. Photo: Rob Foulkes EMN-161219-160126001
Lincolnshire County Council offices in Lincoln. Photo: Rob Foulkes EMN-161219-160126001

County councillors have today (Friday) voted in favour of seeking the views of the residents of Lincolnshire on the principle of moving to a unitary system of local government in Lincolnshire - but they have not yet revealed what form the consultation will take.

Following a debate at Full Council, the majority of councillors voted in favour of carrying out ‘some form of consultation’ later this year.

It had previously been revealed that this could take the form of a postal ballot or a website vote, although cynics had thrown doubt on whether the response would be strong enough to support a ‘super council’ plan.

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Coun Martin Hill, said: “The local election would have been a good chance to engage with people in Lincolnshire, but rather than doing a U-turn, the county council is facing a chicane as the district councils have put so many obstacles in the way!

“We never had any intention of spending £1m to hold a separate poll in polling stations, as suggested by the district councils, but I am pleased that the council are supportive of asking our residents for their views.

“I stand by the premise that it is right that residents have their say on the future of local government in the county. We should listen to the people we represent, not dictate to them.

“I believe the current system is complicated, wasteful and no longer financially sustainable. Without change, important local services are already being reduced and even cut entirely. The savings could also be used to keep council tax down, helping local families as they struggle to make ends meet themselves.

The current two-tier system that currently exists in Lincolnshire comprises one county council and seven district councils.

The County Council has estimated that a unitary system could save as much as £150m over five years – or £82,000 every day.

Click here for background on the ‘super council’ proposals.