YOUR VIEW: We’ve lost out on £298m

Malcolm Chandler
Malcolm Chandler
2
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Devolution, like all positive opportunities, will have its critics. That’s politics and the right of personal opinion.

All great opportunities have to be carefully worked through to mitigate risks.

That is why South Holland District Council took the process through three voting stages and held regular briefings to enable councillors to fully understand the benefits and risks of such a move.

Creating a combined authority for greater Lincolnshire would have given a significant boost to business and residents across the whole county.

This authority would have been chaired by a resident of Lincolnshire, titled mayor, who would have been directly elected by the people of Lincolnshire and independent of all constituent councils to ensure complete fairness of the management of a number of powers currently controlled by central government.

The allocation of a growth fund would have been worth up to £298 million for the first five years, with at least £15 million per year for the next 25 years.

That is the real cost of not taking up this opportunity.

It would seem that the election of a mayor, as the chair, was unacceptable for two of the councils.

All 10 council leaders across all political parties worked hard to bring the accelerated growth to the whole county and it was sad that the opportunity was lost.

The hard work by both members and officers was not achieved without cost.

Had these two councils made their position known in May, rather than signing the agreement, a different approach may well have been followed.

Fortunately, the work is not without gain as the leaders are continuing to build on the successes of a combined approach for the benefit of the people of South Holland.