Councillors in Horncastle slam Davies’ ‘no show’

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One of Lincolnshire’s leading county councillors has been blasted by town councillors in Horncastle after failing to attend a meeting.

Councillor Richard Davies, executive councillor for highways, had accepted an invitation to attend last week’s monthly meeting of the town council.

He was due to face a grilling from town councillors about a host of on-going highways issues, including parking and roadworks.

Councillors had spent weeks drawing up a list of questions and several residents also attended the meeting.

However, just a couple of minutes before the start, councillors were informed Coun Davies would not be attending.

Town and county councillor Bill Aron said he had received an email from Coun Davies.

He confirmed the email did not give a reason why Coun Davies had pulled out.

Coun Aron stressed Coun Davies had indicated he would attend a future meeting.

Deputy mayor Coun Angela Birchall said she was ‘greatly disappointed’.

She said: “We literally only heard he wasn’t coming seconds before the meeting was due to start.

“I’m sorry if a lot of you have come to speak to him.

“He has said he will come to another meeting.”

Several councillors condemned his decision in much stronger terms.

Coun Matthew Wilkinson said: “We geared the entire evening around him.

“I am very frustrated.

“I hope it is nothing serious but whatever the reason, you would have thought he would have informed us sooner.”

Coun Alan Lockwood said: “It is very unfortunate.

“You would think that as an elected representative, he could find the time to attend one of our meetings a year.

“I would be very surprised if he had come.

“In fact, I have won a beer because I forecast some time a go that he would not come.”

Town councillors agreed the late decision highlighted what they claimed was were poor lines of communication between the county and town and parish councils.

They also said it highlighted a lack of communication regarding specific projects in Horncastle.

Coun Birchall said that often the first town councillors knew of roadworks was when temporary signs were erected.

Councillors pointed out they had no direct line of communication with officers at County Hall.

Instead, they had to ‘ring the main switchboard’ and hope for the best.

In Coun Davies’ absence, councillors raised several issues, including calling for an update on the ‘Coastal Highway’ project which includes a by-pass for Horncastle.

They also discussed on-going parking issues outside schools on Bowl Alley Lane, parking issues on Prospect Street and the ‘poor standard’ of repairs on Conging Street.

Coun Aron did attempt to provide updates.

However, town councillor Richard Barker described some of the answers as ‘gobbledegook’ and said the way LCC treated town and parish councils was ‘not good enough.’

Coun Barker added a schedule of issues had been drawn up in January but only one had been completed.

He added several major problems remained unresolved.

Councillors agreed to write to Coun Davies.

The Horncastle News contacted Lincolnshire County Council after the meeting for a comment.

Coun Davies said: “I try to attend most town councils at least once a year, but it would be impossible to get to every meeting I’m invited to.

“I’m sure I’ll get to a future meeting in Horncastle, though can’t say when that will be.

“In the meantime, residents should contact their local county councillor if they wish to raise any concerns.”