It’s the end of the line for Horncastle mayoral role... or is it?

In charge:  Coun Brian Burbidge  who could prove to be the last mayor of Horncastle. Photo: John Aron
In charge: Coun Brian Burbidge who could prove to be the last mayor of Horncastle. Photo: John Aron

Town councillors in Horncastle have voted to abolish the position of mayor from next May although individuals could still decide to ‘adopt’ the title - if they want it.

The role has been subject of debate recently with rows over the expenses and allowances claimed by Coun Bill Aron who completed his year in office at the start of this month.

Coun Brian Burbidge will take on the role and the town council constitution means he can choose between the title of mayor or chairman.

However, Coun Burbidge confirmed the thorny issue of a mayor’s allowance had been scrapped.

In previous years, mayors’ have received an allowance to cover various financial outgoings ranging from donations to the cost of mince pies at a council meeting. Instead, Coun Burbidge will only claim expenses and will only attend events locally or in East Lindsey - unless he secures permission to travel outside the district.

Coun Burbidge also issued a passionate plea to ‘draw a line in the sand’ after recent headlines about the role of mayor and called on councillors to pull together and work ‘for the good of Horncastle’.

In January, Coun Aron was accused at a town council meeting of making claims ‘not in the spirit of the post of mayor’ but ELDC’s monitoring officer confirmed he had not breached any rules. Coun Aron also maintained he had done nothing wrong and has now published a full list of his expenses.

Coun Burbidge said: “What’s happened is in the past. It’s time to draw a line in the sand and move on. While I can understand people have concerns, it is important to say Coun Aron did not breach any rules or regulations.

“It is important we stop the arguing and work together for the good of this town.”

Coun Burbidge said he would probably take the title of mayor with Coun David Roark as his deputy.

Coun Burbidge stressed it promised to be a ‘big year’ for Horncastle with the town council set to take on more responsibility from ELDC for delivering services - including some planning decisions.

He added: “People know I will fight my corner for Horncastle. I live in the town and care about the town and share the same concerns as a lot of people, not least regarding over-development.”