Guest column: Council demands fair funding deal

Coun Paul Key
Coun Paul Key

The decision by Lincolnshire County Council to switch residential street lights off at night was to be reviewed at a meeting of a council scrutiny panel this week.

The panel’s remit is to establish whether the decision to switch off lights is sound.

As a county councillor, I had naturally assumed I was entitled to attend the scrutiny panel, to which I supplied written evidence of increased crime and the social impact on both able and disabled residents.

But I was informed it was a private scoping meeting and would not be allowed to attend.

I consider it important that council decisions and scrutiny must be conducted in an open and transparent manner.

The council has made a case to the Government for fairer funding, something I wholeheartedly support.

Governments usually disperse funds based on the size of the population of area to be funded.

This favours cities where large numbers of people live close together.

The cost per head of providing services is a lot lower in cities than in rural areas like Lincolnshire where distance and dispersed communities creates problems for councils to provide services with the funds available.

A large part of any county councillor’s duties is case work.

Helping residents with their problems, be they small or more demanding, covers a wide range of issues.

But most centre on highway faults like damaged paths, lights out of action and potential accident black spots.

One road junction that is high on my list of locations that have an accident potential is the junction of Vanessa Drive with Morton Terrace.

I am continuing to work to achieve a satisfactory solution.

The council is currently negotiating with Arriva Trains North to bring trains from Sheffield to Gainsborough Central every hour between 7 am and 7pm each weekday.

A successful outcome will boost the Gainsborough economy not only though folks coming to Gainsborough to shop and visit but also to make Gainsborough more attractive to new residents.

The current negotiations stem from a response made by the North Notts and Lincs Community Rail Partnership (of which the council is a member) to Arriva Trains North’s proposed May 2018 timetable.

It is now unlikely that a new service can be introduced in May, but I am hopeful that by December 2018 shoppers will come from South Yorkshire and north Nottinghamshire to do their shopping in our town.