February 6, 2023 10.26 am This story is over 14 months old

Future of South Kesteven’s Best Kept Village competition in doubt

It could be downsized or cut

South Kesteven’s Best Kept Village competition is no longer viable, the council says.

The annual competition costs the council just under £6,000 per year, with up to £400 and gold litter bins handed to the winners.

The local authority is proposing to incorporate the downsized competiton into its SK Community awards to save money.

The event was previously managed by the Countryside Charity on behalf of the council, until funding came to an end in 2019.

A council officer would visit around 100 qualifying villages across the district to judge them.

SKDC is now rethinking the cost as local authorities come under increasing financial strain.

Council members will be asked to consider whether it should become part of the council’s annual awards in order to keep costs down.

Under the proposed changes, villages may need to submit photo evidence to prevent an employee from having to visit them all.

There could be a registration fee to reduce the number of entrants and recoup some of the costs.

Allington came second place in the large village category | Photo: SKDC

The SK Community Awards cost £5,000 overall last year, including the presentation night, meaning the council would save money overall.

Winners traditionally receive certificates and crystal trophies rather than gold litter bins.

“Given the increased costs and the vacant position left by the previous officer who was responsible, operating the competition using the same mechanisms since 2019 is no longer considered to be a viable option,” a report going before council says.

It concludes: “The opportunity to include the Best Kept Village Competition within the SK Community Awards represents an opportunity for the council and communities to continue to celebrate the community pride and achievement, whilst balancing this against the council’s current financial challenges.”

Another option would be stopping the competition altogether, although this isn’t recommended.

Many other local authorities stopped Best Kept Village competitions when the Countryside Charity ceased in 2019, according to the report.

The Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be asked to make a decision on Thursday, February 9.

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