Reflections 2017: Martin Hill – Fighting for a better deal for Lincolnshire

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It has been yet another momentous year at the county council.

May saw the county council elections in which my Conservative group gained a clear majority.

While I was naturally pleased at this strong endorsement for the way we have managed local services, we have not rested on our laurels and have ambitious plans for the future.

We were elected on five key commitments:

  • Securing the best Brexit deal for Lincolnshire
  • Spending taxpayers’ money wisely
  • Keeping Lincolnshire moving
  • Good health and wellbeing – protecting the vulnerable
  • Promoting our communities – a good quality of life

As you can see, we are always looking for ways to improve the lives of Lincolnshire people.

With that in mind we have launched our Fairer Funding campaign. Councils across the county have received far less money than metropolitan urban areas.

We believe that supporting our communities across a sparsely populated rural area provides its own challenges and that we should be funded by central government accordingly.

We are actively lobbying alongside our MPs for the funding system to be reviewed.

I would like to thank everyone who has backed our campaign so far. Look out for updates on progress throughout the coming year.

I am pleased to say that after years of planning, the city’s biggest road project in decades, the £99 million Lincoln Eastern Bypass – from the A158 Wragby Road roundabout to the A15 at Bracebridge Heath – is now well under way.

Not only will this cut congestion it will also add an estimated £600 million to the local economy.

There are also plenty of other plans in the pipeline for other road improvements in the Lincoln area including the £4 million A46 Dunholme/ Welton roundabout and the £2 million Wragby Road/ Wolsey Way improvements.

We are also working on an outline business case for the North Hykeham Relief Road.

Better broadband is another major improvement we are actively supporting.

In the 21st century, it’s vital for any modern home or business.

The onlincolnshire partnership, led by Lincolnshire councils and BT, has been continuing the roll-out of superfast broadband.

The latest phase will see coverage of almost 97% of the county by the end of 2019.

More than 90% of the county can now sign up with an internet service provider and enjoy faster speeds.

Over the last few years, we have had major opportunities to celebrate Lincolnshire’s rich history, with the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and then with the Charter of the Forest.

2018 will see us marking a different kind of history when we commemorate our aviation heritage as part of events to highlight the 100th year of the founding of the RAF.

Lincolnshire: Bastion in the Air, 1915-18, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund runs until April 30, 2020.

The project aims to promote the work carried out in constructing aircraft and defending British airspace during the First World War, which led to the formation of the RAF in 1918, and the continuing links between the county and the RAF.

There will be a series of travelling exhibitions throughout the county during the three-year period, as well as two major static exhibitions in 2018 at RAF Scampton and in The Collection Museum.

New Year’s resolutions

On a local level, as I have already mentioned, I am really hopeful that our Fairer Funding campaign will reap benefits for Lincolnshire.

On a national and international level, we all recognise that the Brexit negotiations have been tricky. But this makes it all the more important that our government sticks to its principles and continues to work hard to deliver the best outcome for all of us.

With that optimistic note, I would like to wish Happy New Year to all Lincolnshire Reporter readers!

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