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Former leader of South Kesteven District Councillor and Stamford St Mary's Conservative councillor says Lincolnshire County Council is to again debate creating a 'single unitary authority'


By Daniel Jaines, Local Democracy Reporter


The former leader of South Kesteven District Council says Lincolnshire County Council is to again debate creating a “single unitary authority”.

Coun Matthew Lee (Con-Stamford St Mary’s) told members of the full council last week: “County council colleagues, of which a number also sit on this council, are again talking about disbanding district councils to create a single unitary authority.

“This idea has so far been strongly rejected in 2017, but it looks like the debate may be coming around again.”

Coun Matthew Lee
Coun Matthew Lee

Lincolnshire County Council shelved plans in that year to hold a public referendum on a unitary authority on the same day as county council elections.

Some district council leaders at the time opposed the plans.

In his speech, his first since stepping down as leader, Coun Lee indicated the reason he was stepping down, was due to disagreement about his vision for the authority.

“I have always been very clear that I see driving economic growth and investment here in South Kesteven as the answer.

“Given that I am stepping down, clearly some of my colleagues disagree. “Other suggestions will no doubt be put forward in due course.”

During the meeting, 29-year-old Coun Kelham Cooke (Con-Casewick) was elected as leader of SKDC.

However, Lincolnshire County councillor executive member Richard Davies was at the meeting, and denied Lincolnshire County Council was pushing for unitary councils, saying there was “no drive” for the move.

He said: “All local authorities should and could be working together but as a member of county council it came as a bit of a surprise to hear that.”

Coun Davies (Con- Grantham West) pointed to the recently announced partnership which will see North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and the county working closer together to provide “more efficient” services.

But he added a unitary authority at this time would “be like turkeys voting for Christmas”.

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