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Briefing sessions for would-be county councillors in North Kesteven ahead of elections

Candidates looking to stand in the Lincolnshire County Council election in the North Kesteven area, and their agents, are invited to attend a briefing evening next month.

Politics
Lincolnshire County Council news.

IN TATTERS - ‘Super council’ plans torn to shreds by referendum blow

Leading political figures in Lincolnshire have found themselves at loggerheads over the latest bid to form a ‘super council’.

Lincolnshire County Council had hoped to get a mandate for a unitary authority in a public referendum on May 4.

Supporters - led by county council leader Coun Martin Hill - claim a single tier of local government would save £150 million over the next five years - or £882,000 a week - see council tax bills slashed and deliver improved services.

The referendum would have been held alongside the county council elections, administered by Lincolnshire’s seven district councils.

But the county council was forced into an embarrassing climb down after the district councils took legal advice. Plans for a separate ‘advisory poll’ suffered a similar fate.

A statement issued by the City of Lincoln Council said legal advice received by the district authorities states that any attempt by the county council to combine their elections with a referendum would be ‘unlawful’, with the plans being ‘contrary to the Election Rules and fraught with danger of litigation’.

This means, in effect, the referendum would need to be held completely separately or on a different day, incurring costs to taxpayers of about 
£1 million.

Coun Marion Brighton, leader of North Kesteven District Council, said: “In order to have a fully-informed, mature and thorough debate I think it best for this to be delayed until after the county council’s May elections so that people can consider the detail, the full facts and suggested models for moving forwards. I am sure that all parties will welcome a commitment to work together for a consultation in the autumn.

“There are significant issues surrounding the legality, the cost of over 
£1 million, and suitability of a referendum. The legal advice is very clear – our commitment to deliver a safe and effective county council election would have been compromised if the poll had gone ahead in the way that had been proposed.

“To rush such an important decision without giving people chance to gather the facts and make an informed decision would have been irrational, unfair to the public and presumptive.

“If we are to reach a consensus for the good of Lincolnshire, the options, benefits and consequences need to be presented in a proper manner for the public to consider and that will take longer than the nine or so weeks Coun Hill had proposed. They need to know what they are voting on.

“In the meantime, we will continue to pursue our aims and ambitions for developing a strong and vibrant district, where we are closest to the people.”

Coun Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “I and my district colleagues are in favour of a collective debate on the future of local government in Lincolnshire, but to hold a referendum at such an early stage in discussions is ludicrous, especially at such massive cost.”

He also described the notion of a ‘remote unitary mega council’ as ‘ridiculous’ as the range of areas in the county have ‘significantly differing challenges and needs’.

Faced with a £1 million-plus bill for a separate poll, Coun Hill immediately rounded on the district councils and condemned their action as ‘deeply disappointing’.

He said: “The idea was to keep administrative costs to a minimum - and to encourage a high turn out - by holding the two things together.

“Unfortunately, it won’t now be possible which is deeply disappointing.

“For various reasons, some of the district councils are not prepared to co-operate.

“Although I personally don’t agree with their legal and other objections, the county council can’t require them to help with holding a poll.”

A defiant Coun Hill stressed the county council would now explore other ways of securing residents’ backing for a single authority.

Those options could include a postal ballot or a website vote but cynics have thrown doubt on whether the response would be enough to support a ‘super council’ plan.

Ironically, the district council’s actions come just weeks after the county council vetoed a separate proposal for a unitary authority which - supported by the Government - would have attracted millions of pounds of Whitehall investment.

The vast majority of district councils were in favour but county councillors voted against - because the new council would have been controlled by a mayor.

The new proposals would not involve a mayor but it is uncertain what level of support - financial or otherwise - it would have received from the Government.

The new super council would have led to the seven district councils being abolished, along with the county council, replaced by the new body and more powers given to town and parish councils.

The matter will be discussed at a full meeting of the county council on Friday.

Politics
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Celtic rock sounds at charity concert

Celtic rock group The Band from County Hell are performing a charity gig at North Kesteven District Council (NKDC) this Saturday, February 25.

News
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Police seeking information about stolen Jeep and trailer

Sleaford Police are appealing for information about the theft of a red/burgundy Jeep Grand Cherokee from Leasingham Moor during the early hours of February 9.

Crime
Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Dr Caroline Johnson (back left) with MP for Newark Robert Jenrick (back right), MP for Grantham and Stamford Nick Boles (front) and Prime Minister Theresa May. EMN-170222-164220001

Sleaford MP takes fight to reinstate overnight A&E services at Grantham to Prime Minister

Sleaford and North Hykeham MP, Dr Caroline took the campaign to reverse the current overnight closure of Grantham Hospital’s A&E department to the Prime Minister’s door today (Wednesday).

Politics
Protestors from Fighting for Grantham Hospital and SOS Pilgrim Hospital ) with chairman of the county  Health Scrutiny Committee, Coun Christine Talbot who attended the meeting (2nd from right). From left Bernice Cullimore, Ian Brothwell, Alison Marriott, Sarah Stock, Phillip Bosworth and Melissa Darcy. EMN-170125-104823001

Jeremy Hunt calls for investigation into overnight closure of Grantham Hospital A&E

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has asked for the overnight closure of Grantham Hospital A&E to be investigated following calls from Lincolnshire’s Health Scrutiny Committee.

Health

VIDEO: 60 seconds can save a child’s life - parents need to know these lifesaving skills

A new study of 2,000 parents reveals millions of children’s lives are at risk because their mums and dads don’t have the appropriate life-saving skills.

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Double penalty points for drivers caught using mobile phone

Double penalty points for drivers caught using mobile phone

New laws coming into force on 1 March will mean that drivers caught using their mobile phone while at the wheel will face double penalty points and a double fine.

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Skegness Carnival has been saved and will have a circus theme for the parade in August. This photo is from last year's parade. Photo: MSKP-140816-65 ANL-170220-141920001

Here comes the ‘Circus’: Skegness carnival is saved

A massive community effort has saved Skegness carnival - with this year’s themed parade to be led by Mr Fips Wonder Circus.

News 1
The planning application was discussed at a planning committee meeting last Monday (February 13)

Potterhanworth scheme for nine homes rejected as too big for village

Permission to be able to build nine homes on land on the southern fringe of a village near Sleaford has been denied by district council planners who claim the community is already oversubscribed for new development.

News
Police news.

White Transit van stolen from Wellingore area overnight

A white Transit van was reported stolen last night (Tuesday) from the Wellingore area.

Crime
Last year's Sleaford Historic Car and Motorcycle Show in September 2016. EMN-170220-145919001

New name for Sleaford Car and Motorcycle Show in bid to make it best yet

Organisers of the annual Sleaford Car and Motorcycle Show will celebrate a special landmark this year as the event reaches its 25th birthday.

News
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Chief Constable pledges action for farmers over rural crime wave

Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Caroline Johnson was among a panel of MPs and police chiefs discussing rural crime issues facing farmers.

Crime
Lincolnshire County Council news.

Want to be a county councillor..? Here’s what you need to know!

A briefing session is being organised for anyone who is interested in standing as a county councillor in the May elections.

Politics
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NHS IN CRISIS: Millions of pounds could be saved if more pharmacists prescribed medicines

Millions of pounds could be saved if more pharmacists prescribed medicines, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said.

Health 3
Weather warning for wind

WEATHER WARNING: Winds of up to 80mph to cause disruption as Storm Doris blows through Lincolnshire

The Met Office have issued an amber weather warning for Lincolnshire and are warning winds of up to 80mph.

News
Spaces available in free antenatal classes in Sleaford for parents-to-be

Spaces available in free antenatal classes in Sleaford for parents-to-be

Last minute spaces are still available for parents-to-be in the Sleaford area who would like to access free antenatal ‘top tips’ classes starting this week.

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Charlotte Frisby is opening her photographic business as a pop-up shop. EMN-170220-142325001

Third business to open up in Sleaford ‘pop-up shop’ scheme

A photographic business has been selected to be the next business to benefit from North Kesteven’s ‘Pop-up Shop’ initiative in Sleaford.

Arts
Politics

UNITARY AUTHORITY: Leader of West Lindsey District Council

Jeff Summers, Leader of West Lindsey District Council, has given his views on plans for a unitary authority for Lincolnshire.

News
NHS IN CRISIS: Drive to save cash is putting funding for treatments in direct competition with one another

NHS IN CRISIS: Drive to save cash is putting funding for treatments in direct competition with one another

The drive to save cash in the NHS is putting funding for treatments in direct competition, a charity has warned.

Health
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