Let's combine some councils
JUST how many councils do we really need?
Some people may find it odd, for example, that Lincolnshire County Council is responsible for roads, North Kesteven District Council for repairing pavements and Sleaford Town Council for sweeping them.
The more enlightened among us may think it preposterous.
It all goes back to the Local Government Act 1972.
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Until then we had a perfectly adequate way of running things.
Lincolnshire had three major councils, Lindsey, Holland and Kesteven – the latter based on Sleaford and Grantham.
These seemed to work perfectly well until some wag at Whitehall had this bright idea of replacing them with seven smaller ones plus one bi 'un.
Instead of a chief clerk, each of these would have a chief executive at (ultimately) a six-figure salary and a pension to die for.
They also hived off a large part of Lindsey into South Humberside to create even more jobs which had previously been thought unnecessary.
Well it did create a boom in the construction industry as prestigious new offices were built in town centres.
Then we have the district councils responsible for collecting the council tax even though the county council will spend 80 per cent of it and the police another 10 per cent.
And does Lincolnshire really need more than 300 district councillors and 77 county councillors all receiving attendance allowances to supplement their pensions as well as overfed chief execs.
Is the district council collecting rubbish for the county council to dispose of it the best way to run things?
Does Sleaford need a town council when the far bigger Grantham electorate has twice rejected such an idea?
Our old friend county council leader Martin Hill has been busy defending his cash-strapped authority's need to shut libraries and museums.
Perhaps he would better use his time to convince the district leaders it is time to combine and save millions and in so doing become more effective.
He could probably get it down to three.
And there is no need to employ consultants for name changes. He could call them Lindsey, Holland and Kesteven.
LAST week the Target ran a feature on our glorious leader Marion Brighton.
I first arrived in Sleaford back in 1988 and she was running things at NKDC then (although those were the days before 'leaders').
And frankly, while not agreeing with her on very topic, I think she does a pretty good job.
I just wonder how many twenty-somethings on their diets of fast food have her stamina.
SLEAFORD town councillors are quite right to refuse to endorse plans for massive housing estates before confirmation that facilities will also be built.
And they should ensure they are written in blood.
They are quite right to be sceptical about the 1,450 homes to be built at Handley Chase, off London Road.
Plans include a health centre, a school, a community centre and a pub-restaurant.
They always do.
But for a start, just wander around Sleaford and surrounding villages and you will soon find the pub is no longer the heart of a community. Boarded up pubs are the norm and new ones a figment of planners' imaginations.
Health and community centres are a couple more items that appear on far more planning applications than on finished estates.
They also usually promise a children's playground – yet none of these facilities appear when the first customers move in. Aren't they entitled to have somewhere for the kids to play, apart from on the piles of bricks?
But by the time they get to building the health centre, miraculously this will be changed to a profitable 'later living centre' or what we used to call an 'old folks home'.
As for the community centre, this no doubt fall by the wayside because of 'pressure on the housing market' make way for more houses.
Councillor David Suiter is right when he says "these always get built last'.
The town council has made its view known and North Kesteven planners should show a bit of gumption and insist that all facilities should be built first.
The developers aren't short of a few quid, whatever they say.
ACCORDING to the latest report by STEAM, North Kesteven earns £100m a year from tourism – and it hasn't even got a beach.
It seems this area attracts them in their thousands from far afield, to see the Heckington Show (27,000) to the World Egg Throwing Championships at Swaton (4,000).
Now I don't want to be a party pooper, but on the whole I would sooner be in Rimini.
TRANQUILIZERS work only if you follow the advice on the bottle – keep away from children.