March 14, 2022 9.25 am

Call for ‘proper accountability’ in Grantham as consultation begins on new town council

Should Grantham have a town council?

Opposition councillors have called for ‘proper accountability’ in Grantham to be created by a new town council as a consultation into the move begins.

South Kesteven District Council launched a consultation on Friday to gauge public support for the move and get feedback on administrative boundaries, councillor numbers and impacts on neighbours.

Grantham is the only one of SKDC’s towns not covered by a town council and decisions around it are often made at the district level.

The situation was called an “unusual” set-up by the chairman of the Review Working Group at SKDC, Conservative Councillor Graham Jeal, in October.

Launching the consultation, he said: “This review is about where important decisions affecting the people of Grantham are taken. It is important that as many people take part as possible.

“Every bit of feedback helps, so we’d ask people to get involved and answer as many questions as they can.”

When making his motion back in October, Councillor Jeal said: “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.

He 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.”

Grantham is overseen by a group of councillors called the Grantham Charter Trustees, but these are generally limited to ceremonial activities such as the election of Mayor.

However, their power has come under scrutiny from local opposition who say they are secretive and lack accountability.

Following the launch of the consultation, Independent Councillor Ashley Baxter said: “I say sweep away the secretive and expensive Charter Trustees and replace them with a properly accountable town council.”

Labour member Lee Steptoe said: “It really is time Grantham got its own town council so that we can make some decisions independent of South Kesteven just like in Stamford, Bourne and vast majority of other English rural areas.”

The Community Governance Review consultation began on Friday (March 11) and will run until April 22.

Responses will be used to draw up draft recommendations and a second consultation will then take place, with hopes the full review will be completed within 12 months.

For information, visit www.southkesteven.gov.uk/granthamCGR or contact SKDC’s Democratic Services department by calling 01476 406080 or emailing [email protected].