STAMFORD could share a coroner with Boston and Spalding under new council plans.
Lincolnshire County Council approved plans to merge the Stamford coroner’s jurisdiction with the Boston and Spalding district at a meeting on Tuesday last week.
The plans were developed after both Stamford coroner Gordon Ryall and Boston and Spalding coroner Maureen Taylor announced their intentions to retire in March.
Council leader Coun Martin Hill (Con) said: “The imminent retirement of two out of three of our coroners prompted our review into the number of jurisdictions.
“Nationally, the Ministry of Justice is currently recommending just one coroner for each local authority area. But after listening to local people’s views and taking into account the size of our county, we felt that the best option for Lincolnshire was to have two.
“This means that the service can operate more flexibly and efficiently, while also ensuring bereaved families continue to benefit from the convenience of inquests being held locally.”
The new coroner’s jurisdiction would be called South Lincolnshire. Inquests would still be held locally for the benefit of bereaved families and there will be no loss of services.
Inquests for residents of Stamford, Bourne and the Deepings are usually held at Stamford Town Hall.
The council has also decided to merge West Lincolnshire with Louth and Spilsby to create the Central Lincolnshire jurisdiction.
The decision followed consultation with a variety of people including coroners, their deputies and officers, administration staff, the Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police, funeral directors and the Ministry of Justice.
Councillors also considered creating one Greater Lincolnshire district covered by a single coroner, but went with the option of two jurisdictions instead.
The council said money would be saved through the loss of one coroner’s salary and streamlining IT and admin services, but was unable to predict how much.
The decision will now be passed on to the Ministry of Justice for a further 30-day consultation. The Secretary for State will then review the changes which, if approved, will go before Parliament.
Once a final decision is made the process of appointing a new coroner can begin.
Mr Ryall is also the coroner for the Peterborough district, which is controlled by Peterborough City Council.
When he retires his Peterborough duties will be taken over by David Hemming.
Inquests in Rutland are covered by Trevor Kirkman, coroner for Rutland and North Leicestershire, and are heard in Loughborough.