New super council talks have been held

Peterborough City Council leader Coun John Holdich.
Peterborough City Council leader Coun John Holdich.
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Plans to create a super council covering Peterborough and Lincolnshire could be ready for approval in six months’ time.

The leader of Peterborough City Council, Coun John Holdich, confirmed talks are ongoing with colleagues across the county border to work closer together.

The talks are expected to lead to firm proposals which could see services being shared or even lead to separate councils amalgamating into one large authority.

Confirmation of the talks comes after our sister paper the Lincolnshire Free Press last week revealed Lincolnshire County Council was exploring the possibility of expanding its boundaries in a bid to secure more funding and safeguard frontline services.

With all councils seeing a large squeeze on their funding from the Government, Coun Holdich said the closer working relationship would save money and help share expertise.

Coun Holdich added: “In the next six months we will start to see firm proposals. There could be a formal arrangement or joining together to run services.

“There would need to be an advantage to Peterborough and for it not just to be a nice thing to do. It’s got to give us better services or save us money.”

Once agreed, the new arrangement would need to be sent to the Government for approval.

Coun Holdich said recent talks with Lincolnshire councils had been about extending economic links between the authorities to encourage more development.

Councils in Lincolnshire have also confirmed they are expecting geographical changes to be made in the near future.

The Free Press also revealed last week that Lincolnshire County Council had submitted an interest to the Government in taking charge of services in North East Lincolnshire County Council.

Those services are currently under the control of Humberside County Council but would be ‘transferred’ to Lincolnshire.

Coun Martin Hill, the leader of Lincolnshire County Council, has stressed the authority is exploring all options as it seeks to solve funding issues.

A specific problem for Lincolnshire is that while it covers one of the biggest areas, the population is relatively small.

Joining with other authorities would increase the number of people – a key factor in central Government funding policy.

There is, of course, intense speculation about the future of the region’s district councils – if major changes do go ahead.