Monday, 18 August 2014

County Council Leader Slams Independent West Lindsey Councillor as 'Ignorant'

Conservative Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Cllr. Martin Hill OBE has had to intervene and write a letter to the Lincolnshire Echo following comments made by an Independent West Lindsey district councllor, describing them as 'ridiculous and completely false'.
Two weeks ago, Cllr Chris Darcel made a number of claims that were so far-fetched they seemed unworthy of being answered. 
However, given that these claims were then repeated in last week's paper [The Lincolnshire Echo], I feel it's important that the record is set straight. 
Over the last few years the county council has had to take bold action to help put right the nation's finances, left in such a disastrous state by the previous Labour government.
Unlike some, we refused to bury our heads in the sand. We pushed ourselves to find new ways of doing things, finding savings of around £150m while protecting the vital services that our residents rely on.
And we have done this in an open and transparent manner, with the vast majority of decisions taken in public and all our accounts and committee records published online for all to see.
We also make sure we give people ample opportunity to voice their views, a recent example being our three-month consultation on local library services, which received hundreds of responses.
And by getting the public involved we were left in the enviable position of having a plan that not only saved money but extended services too. 
Unfortunately, we have now been asked to reconsider our decision and hold further discussions with a not-for-profit company that is interested in running services.
I would also like to underline the council's commitment to building the Lincoln Eastern Bypass.
Major projects like this are complicated and inevitably bring challenges.
We are now making a small adjustment to our design so we can address the planning inspector's concerns. 
Let me be clear though – we will build an eastern bypass, and this will not only relieve congestion by improving traffic flow in the city, but will have a tremendously positive impact on economic prosperity for the county as a whole. 
The points Cllr Darcel raised about the county's new Energy from Waste Facility were ridiculous and completely false. 
A full technical assessment took place to identify the best option for Lincolnshire, and the county council's officers negotiated a very good deal.  Far from wasting money, the contract has saved taxpayers £30 million over the next 25 years.
I'm afraid Cllr Darcel is simply ignorant of the facts both in respect to the alternative ways of dealing with waste, and with regards to the finance arrangements. We have tried to correct him on numerous occasions but, sadly, he refuses to accept when he's wrong. 
By being sensible with our finances and living within our means, we have successfully navigated perhaps the most challenging years local government has seen. 
Simply put, thanks to our efforts and those of our colleagues around the country, the nation is now in a far better position, with the economy starting to look far healthier.
Cllr. Martin HillConservative Leader of Lincolnshire County Council

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