Local Elections

Councillors have suggested Stamford would be better off under a joint council with neighbours Rutland — instead of Lincolnshire — after a major political shake-up is proposing splitting the MP constituency from Grantham, while MPs argue Rutland should join Lincolnshire instead.

The Boundary Commission for England’s latest proposals, which bid to increase fair representation in national elections, revealed plans to split the Grantham and Stamford constituency. Instead Stamford would join Rutland in a new ward, while Grantham would remain separate.

Elsewhere, South Holland would be renamed the South Lincolnshire constituency losing The Deepings, but gaining several South Boston villages.

Harrish Bisnauthsing, Liberal Democrat South Kesteven District Councillor for Stamford St Mary’s, said the plans “make sense”, but suggested the national changes could also be reflected at a local authority level.

“It’s going to make Rutland closer to Stamford. which I’m pleased about because we have a very alike council and people. [It] will be very beneficial for Stamford.

He then added “Rutland and south South Kesteven [councils] coming together would make a nice new authority, probably bringing in South Holland, if you look further down the line.

“Lincolnshire’s too big, it’s too far away from Stamford to serve the town, and the south of this county, properly.”

The proposed new boundaries for Lincolnshire.

He said the Stamford way of thinking was closer to Rutland, and believed the councils would have a better way of spending and plenty of resources.

Conservative Councillor for Stamford St John’s, Susan Sandall said there had “always been mention” of the two authorities being the same area council-wise.

“Stamford seems a little cut-off because of our location. The people of Stamford look at it as it seems a good idea and we might get a little more done,” she said.

She said the new constituency might be “a little difficult” for the MP to cover the same areas councillors were, adding: “I don’t know how it’s going to work to be honest.”

“The people of Stamford want a well-kept town and the facilities available for social shopping, and that’s really more what they’re looking for.”

“The MP will still have concerns and will still be there when they have problems,” she said.

“The only thing is it’s going to be a little bit difficult for the MP himself if he’s covering a different era to that we [councillors] are working for.

“There’s always been mention about Rutland and Stamford being part of the same area council-wise.”

South Kesteven District Council Stamford Councillors Conservative Susan Sandall (left) and Liberal Democrat Harrish Bisnauthsing.

SKDC Labour Group leader Councillor Charmaine Morgan said the boundary review would lead to less representation in Parliament for voters and would not address the “fair allocation of resources” across the country.

She called instead for changes to the voting system, and said proportional representation would “make every vote count”.

“What we need are committed local MPs fighting for our communities. The current proposals overall appear less democratic rather than more.

“As we are currently ruled by a government holding a significant majority of seats but minority of votes, there is clearly something wrong with the current system.”

However, leader of South Holland District Council Lord Gary Porter does not think Stamford will leave Lincolnshire.

“Whether people like it or not, Stamford is in Lincolnshire and not Rutland. I find it difficult to see any changes coming there. They tried that before and it didn’t go down very well.

“They are proud of their independence over there. I don’t think this is a precursor to springing Stamford out of Lincolnshire.”

South Holland District Council leader, Lord Gary Porter.

Lord Porter did not think the changes to the South Holland constituency would make “much impact”.

“We have been working well with people in the Deepings and it will be a shame to lose them,” he said.

“But we also work well with the people in the south of Boston.”

He said he felt the constituency, which has been represented by MP John Hayes since its creation in 1997, would be “80% stable”.

Lord Porter added that any changes needed to be made based on scientific evidence rather than pure numbers and needed to ensure people did not lose their sense of the place they belong to.

South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes felt the boundary proposal would not change the political landscape in his area, however, did not agree with the name change.

“It would be much more sensible to call it South Holland and Holland Fen or South Holland and Swineshead.

“Names do matter, it’s a good way of maintaining continuity. I shall certainly make that case that South Holland should continue to be part of the constituency name.”

In response to the suggestions over Stamford, he said he was “always against boundaries crossing county lines”.

“Counties matter, Stamford has always been a part of Lincolnshire. It’s a Lincolnshire town and long should it remain so. I would rather have Rutland come and join us, not the other way around.

“County integrity matters. It would be great to have the cooperation of Rutland in Lincolnshire.”

Current MP for Grantham and Stamford Gareth Davies, who won by a majority of 26,003 in the 2019 elections, refused to comment.

MP for Rutland Alicia Kearns said: “Like residents, I will be taking time to study the proposals.

“Rutland, Melton, the Vale and our Harborough villages are uniquely wonderful, and any boundary changes must protect and enhance services, representation and support for our residents.

“I am committed to our communities as your representative in Parliament and continue to work as hard as I can to deliver the very best for all of us.”

The new Rutland and Stamford constituency and the wards it includes.

Councillor Mrs Patricia Bradwell, Deputy Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We will be looking at the proposals in detail including those for Stamford before deciding on our reply to the consultation by August 2. We’ll be responding in the best interests of the county as a whole and its residents.”

Other areas of the county will see further general boundary movements as a result of the major changes. These include:

  • Gainsborough loses part of Wragby to Louth and Horncastle (74,332 – 74,750)
  • Louth and Horncastle’s boundaries will see Chapel Orby and East Kirkby moved into Boston and Skegness (74,617 – 73,791)
  • Boston and Skegness’ will move back from Boston West, Brothertoft, Algarkirk, Holland Fen into new South Lincs constituency (66,250 – 71,680)
  • Sleaford and North Hykeham will see its Western, Northern and Eastern borders remain pretty much the same, though its electorate will go from 86,652 to 73,380
  • Lincoln would remain pretty much exactly the same, except a small square of land between Somerton Gate Lane and Lowfields Farm to the south leaving the Sleaford constituency. Its electorate at that point will be 74,128.

To the north of Lincolnshire, the Scunthorpe constituency will be extended to the Humber, taking in areas such as Winteringham and Whitton.

Former Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin.

Former Labour MP Nic Dakin, who lost to Conservative Holly Mumby-Croft in 2019, said he was surprised by the level of additional area, considering future housing growth, but did not think the move would “radically change the local political complexion”.

“They have quite strong connections to Scunthorpe, so it would make sense in terms of coherence of people,” he said.

“The areas that are being added tend to have Conservative representation at council level, but with reasonably close outcomes.

“But the area is winnable for both Conservatives and Labour.”

He said the key for Labour was to win back voters “we lost in the wake of Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership – neither of which were indicative of those voters”.

However, he refused to be drawn into confirming whether he would be standing again in 2024.

Grimsby MP Lia Nici said the merger with Cleethorpes wasn’t set in stone: “Grimsby is also going to have to change as we are a relatively small constituency.

“We have had boundary changes for the past 800 years. It may mean losing Scartho which would be a great shame especially as it is where I started my political career.

“The reality is to make sure I continue to work for my constituents and make sure I do a good job by campaigning and lobbying, should I be re-elected in the future.”

The proposals are now out for public consultation until August 2, 2021.

Nearly half of Lincolnshire County Council’s ruling group will be new faces following the latest election results.

The Conservative’s retained control of the authority following the polls on Thursday with 54 out of 70 seats to their name.

The number is the same as the party went into the election with, however, down by four on the 2017 election results due to some party members leaving or switching sides.

The results, however, saw the loss of Executive Councillor for Culture and Emergency Services Nick Worth and Executive Councillor for Community Safety and People Management Barry Young, both of who stepped down to retire and were replaced in their wards by Conservative councillors Tracey Carter and Robert Gibson respectively.

Eddy Poll, Executive Councillor for Commercial and Environmental Management, who was voted out and replaced on the authority by South Holland Independent Robert Gibson, is not on the LCC cabinet either.

Now council leader Martin Hill has announced his new executive team for the next four years. The new team will include nine councillors rather than the previous eight, and as part of it some roles have also been moved around between councillors.

It will see existing members Councillor Hill and Councillors Patricia Bradwelll, Richard Davies, Colin Davie and Sue Woolley joined by Councillors Richard Butroid, Wendy Bowkett, Lindsey Cawrey and Danny McNally.

Conservative leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill after his party won enough seats to retain control.

All four were re-elected to their ward seats in Thursday’s election.

Councillor Hill said: “I’m pleased to announce the make-up of the new executive and the councillors who will be leading the services we provide for the people of Lincolnshire.

“I’m very pleased the hard work of candidates and Conservative councillors of the past four years has been recognised and rewarded and I look forward to the next four years.

“I’m confident the council will serve the public of this county as best it can.”

He said the authority had a “very strong manifesto” and repeated previous promises of building and developing roads, schools and broadband as well as tackling potholes and fly-tipping and campaigning for more funding.

Councillors Barry Young and Nick Worth stepped down for the 2021 elections, while Councillor Eddy Poll lost his seat at the vote.

The new council also includes three district council leaders, with Councillor Kelham Cooke (South Kesteven) and Richard Wright (North Kesteven) joining Councillor Paul Skinner (Boston) in the chamber.

The full list of executive group members is:

  • Martin Hill: Leader and executive member for Resources, Communications and Commissioning
  • Patricia Bradwell: Deputy leader and executive member for Children’s Services, Community Safety and Procurement
  • Richard Davies: Executive Member for Highways, Transport and IT
  • Colin Davie: Executive Member for Economic Development, Environment and Planning
  • Sue Woolley: Executive Member for NHS Liaison, Community Engagement, Registration and Coroners
  • Richard Butroid: Executive Member for People Management, Legal and Corporate Property
  • Wendy Bowkett: Executive Member for Adult Care and Public Health
  • Lindsey Cawrey: Executive Member for Fire & Rescue and Cultural Services
  • Danny McNally: Executive Member for Waste and Trading Standards

Noi Sear is Lincolnshire County Council’s first Thai councillor who gained the Mablethorpe seat for the Conservatives from Labour in last Friday’s election results on May 7.

She beat Labour councillor Graham Cullen by a majority of 211 votes ousting him from his seat and pledges to “put Mablethorpe on the map,” standing for “all the little villages around” her town.

What inspired Cllr Sear to stand for her county council ward was her passion for helping the community, shown by her ‘meals on wheels’ service she has been running since the pandemic started.

Cllr Sear has been cooking and delivering free meals for the elderly and food banks in Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea during the pandemic every Saturday for around 14 months.

“I’m really passionate about community, for the people of this area,” she added.

Cllr Sear, 59, moved to the UK 40 years ago from Thailand. She married her husband David Sear 16 years ago and moved to Mablethorpe 17 years ago from Yorkshire.

She has two daughters and five grandchildren and says she is very “proud” of them.

She is also actively involved in ‘Thai Night’ where she cooks and raises money for charities in her local area.

Cllr Sear cooking her ‘meals on wheels’ for the community.

 

“I have no gimmick, people see the way I am, not who I am.”

Cllr Sear wants to focus a lot of her efforts as newly-elected councillor on combatting COVID-19 and potholes in her area.

The county council election result was a Conservative gain for Mablethorpe with Noi Sear gaining 1,480 votes to Graham Cullen’s 1,269 from Labour.

Cllr Sear delivering food packages around Mablethorpe.

Cllr Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council said: “I am looking forward to working with Noi at the county council.

“Noi is well known and very popular in her area  – and I understand she has been doing a great job supporting her community during this pandemic.

“I’ve seen some of the pictures of Noi’s cooking for her ‘meal on wheels’ service – and I must say it looks very good indeed!”

Cllr Sear giving food packages to people of Mablethorpe.

Craig Leyland, leader of East Lindsey District Council congratulated Cllr Sear on her victory last Friday.

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