July 22, 2022 11.00 am

New independent alliance at South Kesteven District Council

Councillors want to be more vocal about key issues

A new political group of independent councillors at South Kesteven District Council says it wants to improve scrutiny and transparency at the authority.

Alliance SK’s four members are councillors Virginia Moran, Ashley Baxter and Phil Dilks (who all represent Deepings wards) and Charmaine Morgan (who covers Grantham).

It is understood there have been a number of ideological differences and a widening gap between Independent group members in recent months.

In a statement, Group leader Councillor Baxter said the group was “increasingly frustrated” with the Conservative leadership at SKDC, accusing them of a lack of coherent strategy and hitting out at a “culture of complacency and secrecy” – referring in particular to a recent audit report which had remained behind closed doors until very recently.

“Our frustrations have been compounded by the lack of an organised opposition,” he said.

The authority’s Labour group recently collapsed after two of its members left, with Charmaine Morgan turning Independent and Councillor Louise Clack asking to be considered “unaligned Labour & Co-operative councillor.”

A meeting of South Kesteven District Council’s Full Council on Monday will consider how the changes impact the political balance and allocation of seats on various committees.

“We have utmost respect for the other Independents, as well as for the Labour and Lib-Dem councillors, but we have had a fundamental difference of opinion with some of them regarding how to challenge the Conservatives.

“The Alliance SK group intends to be far more vocal than the other Independents in our criticism of Conservative mistakes and wasted opportunities”.

The group said it will scrutinise in particular the Housing Department’s solution to being in special measures, falling recycling rates, the council’s arms-length companies EnvironmentSK  and InvestSK, and the method by which leaders were elected.

SKDC’s next elections are due to be held in May 2023 and the alliance is hoping to attract new members in time for nominations.

“Given the current shambles and scandals among politicians at a national and a local level, there has never been a better time to stand as an Independent,” said Councillor Baxter.

“We hope that Alliance SK will inspire people of diverse ages and backgrounds to put themselves forward for election… and win!”