South Kesteven District Council is considering setting up a town council for Grantham to give residents ‘more control’.
A motion passed at the authority’s full council last night called for members to approve the start of a ‘community governance review’ in relation to setting up a town council.
Conservative Councillor Graham Jeal, who proposed the motion, said the current set-up in the town was ‘unusual’.
“Decisions about Grantham are not always undertaken by the people of Grantham. Local government reorganisation could make this worse, with decisions about Grantham taken in Lincoln or by Whitehall,” he said.
His motion was backed by council leader Councillor Kelham Cooke who said: “I would rather we were in the driving seat for the people of Grantham rather than have anything imposed upon us.”
However, although he supported the set-up of a town council, Councillor Ashley Baxter indicated a new council should not be a knee-jerk reaction to national reviews and that “any impending new Lincolnshire local authority should not be the determining factor in this debate”.
“It would be useful for the people of Grantham to have some representation that is meaningful. It would also stop this chamber discussing matters that are very specific to Grantham,” he said.
Councillors will next consult with Grantham residents about how they would like to progress.
According to the Government website, to set up a town council there must be a petition submitted containing the signatures of at least 7.5% of the local population.
According to the ONS in 2016, this was around 44,580 for Grantham and so would need 3,344 signatures.
Details such as the cost of setting up the council are not clear, however, Bexhill Town Council which covers a similar population and was set up this year, was estimated to cost up to £100,000.
The motion had cross-party support from a number of councillors, with Labour’s Councillor Lee Steptoe adding: “This is about democracy and, more importantly, about parity. This would bring Grantham in line with the vast majority of other local councils following reorganisation in 1972.”