April 26, 2022 1.45 pm

Local Elections 2022: Conservative’s promise devolved council, free parking and reopening toilets

“For strong representation and a fresh start locally, vote Conservative”

A single council overseeing the wider Lincoln area, free parking and reopening lost toilets are some of the key priorities of the Conservative party in this year’s local elections.

Voters in Lincoln will head to the polls on May 5 to pick their choice in the local elections where a third of seats are up for grabs – one in each ward and a total of 11.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked the leaders of each of the main parties a series of questions and gave them a chance to have their say.

For an analysis of the key battlegrounds, including where Conservatives will be looking to make strong advances or where Labour will be keen to defend visit here.

A full list of candidates, along with those in North East Lincolnshire, can be found here.

For the latest election coverage visit here.

Here’s what the leader of the Conservatives in Lincoln Councillor Thomas Dyer had to say:

What is your party hoping to achieve?

As the main opposition party, we want to increase the number of Conservative councillors, providing residents with a more balanced representation on the council.

After 10 years in control the current Labour administration, who has become complacent and out of touch with residents on some key issues, needs replacing.

Some of our main policies at this election are –

  • Introduce a one hour’s free parking at the Lincoln Central Car Park and a general freeze to parking charges.
  • Re-open the Westgate public toilets, which Labour voted to close.
  • Drive devolution so Lincoln can further benefit from the Government’s “Levelling Up” agenda; building on the £19m already committed through the Towns Fund.
  • Funding of four New PCSO’s to support policing operations within our local communities.
  • Support small businesses through a better managed workspace offering.
  • Improve efficiency to reduce unnecessary spending in City Hall.
  • Improving our recycling rates and supporting the roll-out of separate paper / card collection.
  • Ensuring that Lincoln plays its part by achieving net zero and supporting partner organisations, businesses and households to reach this goal.

What calibre of candidates do you have?

Conservatives are contesting every ward, fielding a strong, diverse and talented team of candidates with fresh and innovative ideas for Lincoln.

Three existing councillors are standing for re-election – Hilton Spratt (Witham), Christopher Reid (Minster) and Alan Briggs (Birchwood). All are very experienced and effective ward councillors who make things happen in their wards and get things done.

Daniel Carvalho in Boultham is a teacher working in a local secondary school; Peter Edwards in Moorland is a veteran and Rachel Storer in Hartsholme has past experience as a district and county councillor and a parliamentary candidate.

A big issue right now is the cost of living crisis, what will you do to address this?

The cost of living is of significant concern for many households, several external factors have driven the inflationary pressures we are now feeling. In particular the shortages that have been created by the impact of Covid worldwide and global energy price spikes brought on by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Government will continue to listen and ensure that the policies in place do help those who need it most. This is why I strongly welcome that Government support for families will be worth over £22 billion in 2022-23.

Local councils should ensure they are ready and able to support Government with the rollout of any financial support. An example is that local councils will shortly be issuing the Government £150 council tax rebate.

Our proposals for a freeze on parking charges, and the re-opening of the Westgate toilets, will encourage tourists to visit our city, and an hour of free parking in the city all helps to boost the local economy.

It’s not just residents facing financial strain, councils are too. How will you address the funding situation?

Local Government has faced financial reductions since 2007/8, when Labour was last in power. All councils have had to adapt, ensuring that they remain financially stable, but still providing critical local services.

We must reduce the bureaucracy of having two-tier Local Government in Lincoln. Having both a city and a county council is an outdated system. It is our view that the wider Lincoln area would be best served by having a unitary authority. A single council would not only be easier for residents to navigate but would reduce staffing overheads and make space for more efficient services.

There’s a lack of faith in politicians lately, particularly when looking at the national picture, how will you build that trust with your communities?

We are here to serve the people of Lincoln so we are fighting this election on local issues and local priorities.

Having spoken to hundreds of residents throughout this campaign right across the city, the vast majority are aware of the great work achieved by their Conservative councillors who get things done.

We say judge us by our results – delivering on our pledges, honouring our commitments and working hard and effectively for residents in both individual wards and across the city, providing sensible, fair and workable policies for our city.

What other issues do you think are of the biggest concern to residents? What do the people on the doorstep care about?

Climate Change – Residents that I have spoken to are keen that Local Government plays its full role within the environmental agenda and reaching net zero.

Western Growth Corridor – Many residents who live around the planned development continue to feel ignored by the city council following planning approval earlier this year. We must remember that this development was approved with Labour votes alone. We now need to work with partners to ensure traffic disruption is mitigated as much as possible and that the concerns of residents are not overlooked.

Public Conveniences – For residents in the North of the city, there continues to be significant upset at the Labour council’s decision to close our public toilets on Westgate.  This, coupled with the car parking charges, acts as a deterrent for people to visit this part of the city and impacts on local independent businesses. A Conservative controlled council would restore this provision.

Fly Tipping – This continues to be a real issue in some areas. We must redouble efforts to punish those responsible and, of course, swiftly clear up to restore the quality of our local environment. Our previous suggestions to increase fines for this have, again, been voted down by Labour.

Housing Waiting List – Many Lincoln residents remain frustrated with the housing waiting list. The council should be doing more to ensure accommodation is provided for those who need it most.

Local Economy – Whilst vacancies across Lincolnshire remain high, a priority for residents is for Lincoln to continue to attract high paid, high skilled jobs. Local Government must do all it can to encourage national and international businesses to base themselves in Lincolnshire.

Highways – Whilst not a responsibility of the City Council, our local highway network is always of importance to local residents. We certainly welcome the opening of the Eastern Bypass and the progress on the North Hykeham Relief Road.

Finally, tell us in 10 words why readers should vote for you?

For strong representation and a fresh start locally, vote Conservative.