September 26, 2019 4.13 pm This story is over 52 months old

Unitary authority would be like ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’ says county councillor

Councillor Richard Davies said he was surprised by the statement

A senior councillor has denied Lincolnshire County Council are debating “surprising” new Unitary Authority plans saying they would be “like turkeys voting for Christmas”.

It follows a speech by the former leader of South Kesteven District Council Councillor Matthew Lee, in which he said the county was “again talking about disbanding district councils”.

Grantham councillor and Lincolnshire County Councillor executive member Richard Davies was at the meeting, and denied the statement.

He said there was “no drive” for the move, adding: “All local authorities should and could be working together but as a member of county council it came as a bit of a surprise to hear that.”

Councillor Lee gives his speech to SKDC Full Council. Photo: Daniel Jaines

He pointed to the recently announced partnership which will see North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and the county working closer together to provide “more efficient” services, but said a unitary authority at this time would “be like turkeys voting for Christmas”.

Councillor Matthew Lee, in his first speech since stepping down said: “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.”

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.

Councillors from the executive at Lincolnshire County Council, North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council. Picture: LCC

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

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

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.

Several district council leaders at the time opposed the plans.

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