Uncertain future for East Lindsey council?

Coun Craig Leyland. ANL-161230-133927001
Coun Craig Leyland. ANL-161230-133927001

East Lindsey District Council leader Craig Leyland has admitted the authority could face an uncertain future amid fears of more cutbacks and renewed speculation about a new ‘Super Council’ to run Lincolnshire.

Coun Leyland was speaking at a meeting of Horncastle Town Council when several members of the public questioned whether there was a need for a district and county council.

They were responding to confirmation from Coun Leyland that ELDC plans to devolve more responsibility for services to town and parish councils.

Town resident Alan Lockwood told Coun Leyland: “I work for the NHS and as an organisation, we have gone through massive change.

“If our (Horncastle) town council is going to be enhanced in size, you have to question ELDC’s continued existence.

“I want to know how long can ELDC and other councils exist, especially as what you do does not support the needs of our area.”

Coun Leyland defended the role and performance of ELDC in what he admitted were ‘very testing times’ for all authorities but admitted he could understand why people were questioning the current system of local government.

He also said that if a new mayoral authority was set up in Lincolnshire, it would lead to more speculation about the need for district and county councils.

He said: “It (a Greater Lincolnshire Authority) would put a stress on the organisation we have.

“There is a debate to be had about which councils run services. I don’t have a firm opinion because I haven’t studied all the options.

“How long will East Lindsey last? If it needs a re-structure of all the tiers of local government - if that’s what is needed to best run services for residents - then it’s a debate we need to have.

“What I will say is I think Lincolnshire is too big for one authority.”

ELDC must save £6m over four years following cuts in central Government funding and plans to hand more responsibilities to town and parish councils under a ‘Transformation Programme’ has attracted some criticism.

The district council is currently finalising its budget for the coming year and inevitably it will involve an increase for council tax payers. The size of the increase, though, will be capped by Whitehall.