West Lindsey councillor defends authority’s Gainsborough focus

A senior West Lindsey district councillor has acknowledged criticisms from residents in villages north of Lincoln that too much of their council tax is spent in Gainsborough, but said that the authority was investing in the whole of the district.

Councillor Giles McNeill, chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee, said that Gainsborough received the lion’s share of investment as it was the only major population area in the district.

Gainsborough, with a population of around 22,000, is around five times bigger than some of the larger villages north, west and east of Lincoln.

When asked why residents in villages such as Nettleham, Welton and Scothern were paying council tax to pay for services in Gainsborough when they gravitate towards Lincoln, Councillor McNeill said that he understood that position.

He said: “I do look towards Lincoln. Gainsborough for me was a place I very rarely visited before getting elected.

“What I would say is that there are projects locally. At Saxilby we’ve been developing the Riverside Enterprise Park in conjunction with Stirlin Developments.

“We’ve invested heavily there to make some units available so that’s the sort of thing we can do.

“Unfortunately, because of the rurality of the district, really your main centre is Gainsborough.”

However, some residents are clearly unconvinced.

Commenting on Councillor McNeill’s claims that the scrapping of the chief executive role at the council would save £90,000 per year, one Lincoln resident said: “The villages around Lincoln (Nettleham, Welton, Sudbrooke etc) do not want or need West Lindsey District Council – it’s irrelevant, does nothing for them and just soaks up money for them to waste in Gainsborough.

“Get rid of it, and the senior officers – merge it with neighbouring authorities and save us all a lot of money. It’s simply not fit for purpose.”