Hopes of a Greater Lincolnshire devolution deal with a directly elected mayor appeared to be ended by the decision of Lincolnshire County Council and South Kesteven District Council to reject the settlement on offer from the government. Where though does this leave the prospects of a transfer of powers to the county in the future?
In announcing his decision to ‘say no’ to the deal, Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill said that he remained confident devolution of some sort would happen in the future for the region.
Councillor Hill said in a column for Lincolnshire Reporter that there was still “huge support” for a the transfer of powers and funding to a local level.
He said: “Many people, including me, also want to start restoring the unity of our historic county, stretching all the way from the Humber to the Wash.
“From residents to businesses, and local councils to government ministers, there’s real enthusiasm for the idea of change.
“The challenge in the years ahead is to identify the best form of change – one that really works for Greater Lincolnshire and all its people.”
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney has said that he fears vital infrastructure projects will be impacted by the lack of a deal for the region.
He told Lincolnshire Reporter: “While the final decision has yet to be made despite the supportive views of residents and the majority of councillors across the county and Greater Lincolnshire, my concern will be on the impact of funding for vital infrastructure projects that we need.
“These include as the Southern Relief Road and the extra lanes on bypasses around Lincoln which will benefit the whole county.
The onus will be on the county councillors to set out their Plan B regarding how they are going to address these types of issues if the devolution deal does not go ahead.
Many of you got in touch with your views on devolution, and whether Lincolnshire had indeed missed the boat.
Stuart Mogg said: “It’s a massive shame we won’t have a elected mayor for Lincolnshire. I for one think it’s time to get rid of the county councillors as they seem to be a closed shop and have their own agenda filling the pockets of them and their friends.”
Nick Parker disagreed, saying: “The proposals were thoroughly undemocratic placing a large amount of power in the hands of a small number of politicians without any direct accountability.”
John Bland was also unimpressed with the idea of an elected mayor, despite supporting the principle of devolution.
He said: “The money is desperately needed in the county and devolution of power to the lowest practical level is something that would bring about more local accountability over how and where money is spent.
“However why is this government obsessed with the dogma of an expensive mayor? In rejecting this deal should not our county council leaders be making it absolutely clear that the money is needed and make the case that the extra funding without the money that a mayor would cost is a win-win scenario for both the government and the county?”
Share your thoughts with us at Lincolnshire Reporter by emailing [email protected]
Stefan is the Local Democracy Reporter covering Greater Lincolnshire. You can contact him directly with your news via email at [email protected]