The devolution process was described as a “rollercoaster that we need to be on” during a full meeting of South Kesteven District Council.
Recommendations to further the bid for devolved powers from central government were put forward and approved at the meeting. These included establishing a joint committee between the 10 Lincolnshire authorities to operate as a de facto shadow combined authority, to be known as the Greater Lincolnshire Leadership Board.
In response to concerns that being at the southern end of the county might result in South Kesteven “being left on the periphery”, leader Coun Bob Adams said: “In going forward with the 10 authorities – that’s the seven districts, the county council, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire – it is on an equal partnership basis. No local authority, no matter what its status, being county or unitary, will have a voice with a greater weight than anybody else.”
When asked whether any viable alternatives were being looked at, Coun Adams said: “I think it is generally known that we have been talking to the Cambridgeshire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and we will continue to talk to them. North and North East Lincolnshire are in the Humberside LEP, so there’s no bar from the district council looking outside of its own boundaries.”
He added that it was likely to be at least a year before bid details are finalised.
Coun Phil Dilks said: “Frankly, it’s a rollercoaster that we need to be on. If we’re not, there’s a danger of us becoming a second tier authority and service provider.”