South Kesteven District Council: Lincolnshire Unitary authority again raises head

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The former leader of South Kesteven District Council has said that Lincolnshire County Council is to again debate creating a “single unitary authority”.

Councillor Lee, in his first speech since stepping down as leader, told members of the full council: “County council colleagues, of which a number also sit on this council, are again talking about disbanding district councils to create a single unitary authority.

“This idea has so far been strongly rejected in 2017, but it looks like the debate may be coming around again.”

Lincolnshire County Council shelved plans in that year to hold a public referendum on a unitary authority on the same day as county council elections.

Some district council leaders at the time opposed the plans.

In his speech, Councillor Lee indicated the reason he was stepping down, was due to disagreement about his vision for the authority.

“I have always been very clear that I see driving economic growth and investment here in South Kesteven as the answer.

“Given that I am stepping down, clearly some of my colleagues disagree.

“Other suggestions will no doubt be put forward in due course.”

Councillor Lee told councillors it had been “a privilege” to lead the council for the past two years and said the district had “enormous potential”.

He praised the work the council had done including the new cinema, street cleaning, Lottery SK and Invest SK.

“Over the past two years, we have begun to be a council that does things. At the same time we have also been gearing up to take on some of the big challenges we are facing,” he said.

“I can honestly say I have put my heart and soul into leading this council. I’m honestly proud of what we have achieved,” he said.

During the meeting, 29-year-old Councillor Kelham Cooke was elected as leader of the council.

Lincolnshire County Council has been approached for comment.

Earlier this week, leaders of the county, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire council announced a new partnership which it said would provide “more efficient” local authority services.

It said the authorities will look where it can work closer on waste, adult services, children services and public health.

Daniel Jaines , Local Democracy Reporting Service