Deputy Mayor is told £700-a-day is the ‘going rate’ for a consultant

Coun Bill Aron
Coun Bill Aron

Horncastle Town Council has defended spending £700 on a consultant for a day’s work helping to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.

Along with other authorities, the council is heavily involved with producing a Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Essentially, it will give local communities more say in planning matters - including housing applications.

At a Town Council meeting last week, deputy mayor Coun Angela Birchall questioned the payment to the consultant and said it seemed “excessive.”

Coun Birchall claimed she understood the payment concerned a visit by the consultant to a local school for a day as part of the Development Plan process.

She added: “I must question the £700. That sounds excessive for what amounts to a day’s work.”

However, Coun Birchall was told the Town Council had previously agreed a budget for the Development Plan, including the services of a consultant.

Coun David Roark said the visit to the school was part of a process to “tick all the required boxes” in the process.

Coun Roark also pointed out that thanks to the input of the consultant, Horncastle’s Development Plan was at a more advanced stage than neighbouring councils.

Coun Bill Aron said he felt any £700 was the “going rate” for a consultant.

Meanwhile, two newcomers were co-opted onto the council - Stewart Attwood sand Brian Burbige.

There were six applicants for two positions. Mr Burbige was the only applicant not at the meeting.

The four unsuccessful candidates were John Lechler, Eric Hall, Florence Moore and Mark Everton.

All the candidates had applied in writing and the five present at the meeting outlined their backgrounds.

Councillors voted to move into private session to discuss the applications before announcing a decision.

The two new councillors will serve until next May when there will be a full election.

The council still has another vacancy and it is expected a co-option will take place in July. All the unsuccessful candidates must re-apply.