Guest column: Council cuts are a ‘false economy’

Coun Paul Key, Gainsborough Town Council
Coun Paul Key, Gainsborough Town Council

Six weeks ago voters in Gainsborough elected me to Lincolnshire County Council.

There is a lot to learn as a new councillor in an authority that extends from The Wash at Sutton Bridge to within sight of the Humber at Brocklesby.

That is more than 4,000 square miles of farm land so it is hardly surprising that agri-business is the dominant driver within the county.

Gainsborough thrived for more than 100 years through the agricultural engineering products made by Marshall’s.

Our town’s reputation for engineering excellence created by Marshall’s and Rose Brothers is now reflected in the diversity of engineering in the town.

The problem is, Gainsborough as a specialist engineering town does not fit the perceived view of Lincolnshire, as a mass producer of crops and vegetables.

As your county councillor I will seek every opportunity to promote Gainsborough’s engineering excellence and also its tourist potential with Mayflower 400 fast approaching.

The council is responsible for highways and that includes street lighting and grass verges both of which concern residents at present.

The issue of switching street lights out at night will be the subject of a review this summer.

The council is well aware of my argument that this is a false economy as I made a presentation of a petition with some 3,000 signatures, to the council last December long before I sought election.

I await the results of the review with great interest, as I suspect do most readers.

Another economy made by council is to reduce roadside grass cutting to twice a year.

I urge readers who are concerned about major issue such as grass cutting and street lights to make complaints via the council’s web site at http://tinyurl.com/y8jaw4sq.

It is imperative that your complaint is registered via this website or the customer service centre on 01522 782060.

As a new councillor I now sit on the committee that overseas how the council manage adult social care with a budget of £350 million which of course is tax payer’s money.

The council executive, consisting of just 10 of the 70 councillors, make policy andmanagement decisions.

Committees can only scrutinise their decisions and you can rest assured I will be scrutinising them carefully.

With such a large organisation as the council, there is still much to learn and understand.

I must give high praise to the support team of officers who guide and advise new councillors such as myself.