New district council leader is made official

Giles McNeill
Giles McNeill

Conservative councillor Giles McNeill has now been officially elected as leader of West Lindsey District Council - and he has promised to revisit plans for a swimming pool in Market Rasen.

Coun McNeill, who represents the Nettleham ward, was voted in at WLDC’s full council meeting last Monday evening (May 20), with Coun Owen Bierley elected as his deputy.

Giles McNeill EMN-190605-184455001

Giles McNeill EMN-190605-184455001

Coun McNeill said he wants to look again at the swimming pool proposals over the next 12 months, in order to see if the plans could be made viable or sustainable.

He said: “I would hope we would do it sooner rather than later, but it might be that we get advice that actually doing it now would just get the same result we had recently and we might be better waiting a little bit longer.

“I want to take a balanced approach – I would love to have a swimming pool at the centre of Market Rasen but just because you want to do something doesn’t mean it’s the thing you should do.”

Coun McNeill said a pool would currently require a district council tax rise of around 28 per cent – or 73 per cent if you could localise the rise to the Market Rasen area.

This would be purely for the running costs, and does not take into account sacrifices elsewhere to build the pool, or the referendum costs for the tax hike.

With WLDC’s council tax already rising by 2.99 per cent this year to £213.47 for a Band D property, the additional rises could see residents paying an extra £59.77 or £155.83 respectively.

He said he had begun speaking to the new Liberal Democrat for Market Rasen, Councillor Stephen Bunney, but said a solution had yet to be found, adding: “I haven’t found any magic money trees lurking around.

“If we can build a swimming pool on a sustainable, and economic basis I don’t see why we wouldn’t, but at the moment it can’t be shown to be done that way, and why should everyone in the district have huge council tax hikes to pay for a swimming pool which isn’t viable.”

Ground has now been broken at the site of the new leisure centre, due to open in late spring 2020.