Over the last week, Lincolnshire residents will recall local politicians putting their views forward as to whether Lincolnshire’s eight councils should be replaced by a unitary system.
What does all this mean for residents?
At the moment in Lincolnshire we currently have eight councils, one county council and seven district councils.
The county council is proposing to ask the residents of Lincolnshire whether these should all be replaced by a unitary system, so that there will only be one such council in an area.
There are substantial savings to be made from the amalgamation of the eight councils. Parish and town councils and local communities could take up more powers and responsibilities so that more decisions could be taken locally – and this would mean being funded to deliver local services which residents feel very passionate about.
Having better co-ordination between services such as planning, waste, transport and housing is the best way to improve services. Many services are partly delivered by the district council, such as collecting your dustbins, and then the county council disposes of the waste - joining the services together would give greater economies of scale. Residents would have a single point of contact – one council and one councillor to approach for issues.
Local government in Lincolnshire has been in existence since 1974 and changing the status quo can often be challenging, but the current system is one we can no longer afford and is complicated and wasteful.
Moving to a unitary council system would save over £30 million a year (£8,000 a per day) and create a simpler and more effective system for delivering services to the residents of Lincolnshire. Many councils across the country have moved to a unitary system – so this is a tried and tested method that could work in Lincolnshire.
At this stage we need to gauge residents’ appetite for this type of transformation - hence a referendum in May to ask you what you think of this proposal. The reason for doing this in May is that the county council elections give the whole of Lincolnshire the opportunity to respond.
All councillors (district and county) need to think about the bigger picture – we have the opportunity to design services which will be better value for money for residents.
Detailed proposals will need to be worked on by a range of partners and stakeholders including an independent advisory group and business organisations; central government; parishes and town councils and most importantly – you the residents of Lincolnshire.
This is an exciting time and I hope you will consider it very carefully.
Coun Patricia Bradwell
Deputy Leader cllrp.bradwell@ lincolnshire.gov.uk