UNITARY AUTHORITY: Council leader explains why referendum ‘now won’t be possible’

Martin Hill
Martin Hill

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Martin Hill, has explained why a poll on transforming local government in Lincolnshire won’t now be possible – although some form of consultation “could still happen”.

In a statement, Coun Hill said: “In my previous article, I explained why I’d like the council to ask residents’ views about the future of local government in the county.

“In particular, I suggested that we could have a poll on May 4, when many residents will already be going out to vote in the county council elections.

“The idea was to keep administrative costs to a minimum – and to encourage a high turnout – by holding the two things together.

“Unfortunately, it won’t now be possible to hold a poll on May 4, which is deeply disappointing.

“For various reasons, some of the county’s seven district councils – the bodies responsible for conducting the elections – are not prepared to co-operate.

“Although I don’t personally agree with their legal and other objections, the county council can’t require them to help with the holding of a poll.

“Instead, the county council will be discussing at its meeting on February 24 whether to find out your views in a different way.

“This could take the form of some kind of consultation – perhaps through County News, this website and other means – later in the year.

“In that consultation, residents would be asked if they support in principle the idea of moving to a “unitary” system of local government in Lincolnshire.

“My previous article explained what that would involve, and why it could be a really good thing for local services in the county.

“But it isn’t about what I think – or any other county or district councillors.

“It’s about local residents – which is why I’ll be arguing strongly on February 24 for some form of consultation with you as soon as we’ve identified the best option.”

• Visit our website for comment and reaction from Lincolnshire’s district councils regarding the unitary authority proposals.