Horncastle

Reflections 2017: Craig Leyland – Working cooperatively with our neighbours

This year has seen East Lindsey District Council have to make many difficult decisions. Local government funding has continued to be a challenge and we have had to make changes to the way we deliver services.

There have been many discussions about how councils should operate and indeed whether they should even exist. The devolution and unitary debates may still be voiced but it is important to understand what we do well and how we can do even better.

When I first became a district councillor in 2007 I was amazed at the breadth of services our district council provides – services ranging from food hygiene in restaurants to managing contaminated land and looking after the wellbeing of some of our most vulnerable residents.

This is on top of the services our residents will generally expect us to deliver and all in one of the largest districts in the country… that is challenging in itself.

Now, as leader of East Lindsey District Council, it is evident that the best way forward is to work cooperatively with our neighbouring councils and partners.

As an administration, we have prioritised looking after our most vulnerable residents and seeking to grow the economy of the district.

Both these endeavours are best achieved by collaborative working.

Our excellent wellbeing service succeeds because we work with Lincolnshire County Council and our district partners.

Our economic ambitions are being progressed by our excellent tourism team working with West Lindsey District Council, the recently formed Coastal Business Improvement District, and Visit Lincoln, to promote the Lincolnshire Wolds and coast as great places to visit and do business.

We continue to see significant growth in the visitor economy and other key business sectors, such as manufacturing and agri-food, are performing exceptionally well.

Collaborative working extends to protecting our residents too, from threats anticipated and unknown.

This last year has seen the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum manage two major public safety threats in East Lindsey, namely the coastal flood surge in January and the discovery of a cache of mustard gas in Woodhall Spa.

The forum brings together all of our emergency services, councils and government agencies to coordinate effective responses to such emergencies.

Their work is recognised nationally and as ward councillor for Woodhall Spa I am very grateful for their efforts.

I am also extremely grateful to all our residents who contribute to the rich tapestry that is East Lindsey.

I am very thankful to all our officers who have met the challenges of this last year and I would like to wish all of our residents a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Last, but not least, please do take time to spare a thought for those who might find this time of year lonely or difficult.