Cllr Hill Blog: May 2024

Cllr Martin Hill - a white man with grey hair wearing a blue shirt, beige tie and jacket.

2024 marks 50 years of Lincolnshire County Council, and last week, we held our annual general meeting, where our executive councillors highlighted some of our achievements of the past year.

Despite the backdrop of challenging times for local councils and global instability, we have been able to maintain our strong financial position and invest in areas like schools, roads and flood prevention.

Highlights of the last year include our Children’s Services department being awarded an overall ‘outstanding’ judgement following an Ofsted inspection; Lincolnshire was announced as one of only three areas to run a new national programme - Families First for Children, with £5.7m of new funding; we’ve also invested over £7m to create over 200 new places in mainstream schools.

Our Adult Care Services have also seen plenty of progress. This includes a new specialist team helping young people who have a physical disability to prepare for adulthood; our day opportunities service for those with learning disabilities has provided support for over 320 overnight breaks.

Another busy year saw our fire service respond effectively to a variety of emergencies, including storms Henk and Babet. A full inspection of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue was carried out by His Majesty’s Inspectorate and the report was positive in all areas, with the service judged as providing a good operational response to emergencies and major incidents.

Lincolnshire continues to attract the attentions of renewable energy developers. The council has been actively involved in five solar energy planning examinations this year, objecting on the basis of loss of our most versatile agricultural land and visual impact.

We face an uphill battle in maintaining our roads, with reduced government funding and increasing costs. However, as a council we have continued to allocate more money - increasing our spend from £102m last year to £112m for 2024/25. We have repaired more than 100,000 potholes this year, including 38,856 individually reported potholes.

During the last year, we have re-invested £12m of savings made by our service areas, including £4m to support flood prevention measures, as well as additional investment in our waste management and swapping street lighting for more efficient LEDs.

2024 is also significant as we work towards a devolution deal for Greater Lincolnshire. This is our plan to receive more funding and powers from the government to be spent in our area, with decisions made locally not nationally. If the deal proceeds as we hope, we will be setting up a combined authority by the end of the year to oversee these new powers, with a mayoral election held in May 2025.

We’ve achieved a lot over the last year, and the last 50 years, but I’m confident we are also planning an exciting future for our county.

Published: 21st May 2024