Plans for a Greater Lincolnshire devolution deal worth £450 million over the next three decades have been officially scrapped after a deal with the government over a directly elected mayor could not be reached.
Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill said that the lack of compromise from government on a mayor was the key reason for the deal ultimately breaking down.
As previously reported, 43 Lincolnshire county councillors voted against the proposed devolution deal at a meeting on Thursday, October 20, with 17 voting in favour and five abstentions.
South Kesteven District Council also rejected the proposed settlement.
Councillor Hill said: “The proposed devolution deal for Greater Lincolnshire as it stands – including a directly elected mayor – won’t now go ahead.
“In considering my position on the deal, I have absolutely at the forefront of my mind the views of the 4,000-plus residents who took part in the recent consultation.
“The results showed that most local people backed devolution in principle, with 59% of respondents saying our councils should pursue greater powers.
“However, 49% opposed the idea of a Mayoral Combined Authority – a new body headed by a directly elected mayor.”
The devolution deal on offer would have created a new combined authority, with a directly elected mayor.
The new authority would also have received £15 million a year, for the next 30 years, for infrastructure projects.
Many councillors expressed their anger at the plans for the elected mayor, a perceived failure of government to listen to their concerns, and fears of two extra layers of local government bureaucracy.
They also cited a consultation completed by around 4,000 residents (less than 1% of the total population of Greater Lincolnshire) as a reason for the rejection of the deal.
Councillor Ric Metcalfe, leader of City of Lincoln Council, said that he was bitterly disappointed with the news.
He said: “Devolution would have given us a greater degree of power and control over decision making currently undertaken at Whitehall, and provided more resources now and in the future for investment in Greater Lincolnshire.
“We are bitterly disappointed that this has now been prevented from taking place.”