District councils facing an uncertain future - Leyland

Coun Craig Leyland who admitsd any re-organisation  of local authorties could leave district councils in a vulnerable position
Coun Craig Leyland who admitsd any re-organisation of local authorties could leave district councils in a vulnerable position

East Lindsey District Council leader Craig Leyland has admitted the authority could face an uncertain future amid fears of more cutbacks and renewed speculation about a new ‘Super Council’ to run Lincolnshire.

Coun Leyland was speaking at a meeting of Horncastle Town Council when several members of the public questioned whether there was a need for a district and county council.

They were responding to confirmation from Coun Leyland that ELDC plans to devolve more responsibility for services to town and parish councils.

Town resident Alan Lockwood told Coun Leyland: “I work for the NHS and as an organisation, we have gone through massive change.

“If our (Horncastle) town council is going to be enhanced in size, you have to question ELDC’s continued existence.

“I want to know how long can ELDC and other councils exist, especially as what you do does not support the needs of our area.”

Coun Leyland defended the role and performance of ELDC in what he admitted were ‘very testing times’ for all authorities but admitted he could understand why people were questioning the current system of local government.

He also said that if a new mayoral authority was set up in Lincolnshire, it would lead to more speculation about the need for district and county councils.

He said: “It (a Greater Lincolnshire Authority) would put a stress on the organisation we have.

“There is a debate to be had about which councils run services. I don’t have a firm opinion because I haven’t studied all the options.

“How long will East Lindsey last? If it needs a re-structure of all the tiers of local government - if that’s what is needed to best run services for residents - then it’s a debate we need to have.

“What I will say is I think Lincolnshire is too big for one authority.”

ELDC must save £6m over four years following cuts in central Government funding and plans to hand more responsibilities to town and parish councils under a ‘Transformation Programme’ has attracted some criticism.

The district council is currently finalising its budget for the coming year and could involve an increase for council tax payers.

The size of the increase, though, will be capped by Whitehall.

DR: Any plans to cut district counciloors.

We have gonethrough a process of restructing and that was done by the boundary commission.

We have gone down from 60 to 55 councillors and that has happened. It has brought quite a saving.

Wioll it not msave mnore. I saw on website that excpended for council,lors in 2014-15 wrre £350,000. Ifd tyou cut back another 10 it would quite asagving. Itr’s not in hour hands. Its the BC. We did make a number of suggestions and that’s what came backj.

Why not discvanf distr councils and give everyhting tro LCC.

We have gone through bthe process of discussing deveoltuon and that was one step gttowasrds that.

In effect, if iut had happened, you would have had another layer but you would have questionedd those layers underneath.

It would have oput a sdtress on the organisation we laready have.

It is potentially dead and buries but there are still rumblings that it could go ashead with the eight councils who voted for it. That is a debuiate for another day.

Theree is a debate to be had about which councils reun sservices. I don;t have an option on that because I haven’;t studfied all the options.

- Town council enshanged in size. ELDC existance.

I wok for the NHS - gone through massive changes.

Long mpublic conculation. How long can ELDC and even other councikl exisit.

What you do does not support need for area.

I thoughr devekoption woudl bring grewat benefits. It’s very sad that has not happened.

How long with EL last? If it needs a restrutre of all the tiers of local govrnemnt if that’s what needed to rbest run sewrvcies for residentd and wervices thats’./..

I think Lincs is too big gfor one authiorty.