New campaign on social media Online campaign to ‘abolish’ mayor idea

Coun Ashley Baxter, South Kesteven District Council member for Market and West Deeping ward.  Photo by John Cassidy.
Coun Ashley Baxter, South Kesteven District Council member for Market and West Deeping ward. Photo by John Cassidy.
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A Deepings councillor has started a social media campaign to abolish the idea of a Greater Lincolnshire mayor, before one is even elected.

Plans to introduce a directly-elected mayor to run transport, housing and flood risk management across ten council areas have been branded “ridiculous” by Coun Ashley Baxter, South Kesteven District Council member for Market and West Deeping.

South Holland District Council has been in talks with nine other councils, including Lincolnshire County Council, to agree plans for a Greater Lincolnshire government which could see the role of Police and Crime Commissioner for the county axed.

An agreement was drafted in March and signed by 14 civic leaders, including South Holland District Council leader Gary Porter and Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council.

Speaking in March, Coun Hill said: “Greater Lincolnshire is on the road to more local freedom as councils pro-actively work together to chart a new course for the area.

“In Greater Lincolnshire, we will have more control over our own future, rather than letting Whitehall decide what is best for us.

Previous consultations give us reason to suspect that the senior Tories in Lincolnshire will plough on regardless with their ridiculous proposals, despite what people tell them

Coun Ashley Baxter, South Kesteven District Council member for Market and West Deeping

“As well as unlocking the economic potential of the region, the new arrangements will reunite the historic Greater Lincolnshire area.”

But Coun Baxter said: “Previous consultations give us reason to suspect that the senior Tories in Lincolnshire will plough on regardless with their ridiculous proposals, despite what people tell them.

“I will continue to oppose the proposals at South Kesteven where I know many other councillors are also sceptical, including many Conservatives. “Councillors are in a position to send this devolution proposal back to the drawing board and that is what we should do.”

For more details, visit Abolish the Mayor of Greater Lincolnshire on Facebook.

In contrast, the chance to create a new Mayor for Greater Lincolnshire has been described as a signal of “exciting times” for the county by a leading businesswoman.

Ursula Lidbetter, chairman of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), revealed that the organisation for private and local government sectors were in talks about whether the mayoral role should go ahead, with an extra £450 million promised to the area over the next 30 years.

A six-week window for the public to have their say on the plans closed last Tuesday, but there is no word yet on the response from county residents,

Ms Lidbetter said: “We live in very exciting times for Greater Lincolnshire and we are working with other LEPs to make a success of the Midlands Engine for Growth.

“We are consulting with businesses and residents about whether devolved powers and an elected mayor for Greater Lincolnshire are a good idea.

“Alongside that, we are also in talks to attract even more funding from government for major infrastructure projects, launching a Water Management Plan for our area and we will soon be setting out a new transport strategy for Greater Lincolnshire.”