Mayor’s plea to councillors in Horncastle highways saga

Horncastle’s Mayor has pleaded with town councillors to unite and ‘work together’ for the good of the town.

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Coun Fiona Martin was speaking at last Tuesday’s meeting of the town council after the non-appearance of two highways officers from Lincolnshire County Council.

Several members of the public did attend the meeting and, along with councillors, had hoped to discuss a raft of issues with the officers.

However, I understand one of the reasons for the officers pulling out of the meeting was a lengthy running dispute between County Councillor Bill Aron and another councillor.

Two months ago, the town council voted to form a Working Group to draw up a list of highways issues to present to the County Council.

However, Coun Aron - whose brief includes highways matters - has so far refused to support the group.

Coun Matthew Wilkinson told the meeting he was ‘extremely disappointed’ at the officers’ decision.

However, he intimated it had been influenced by the actions of a councillor.

He said: “I do think as councillors we should be acting solely for the good of the town.

“We have got to ask why are we here? Why do we call meetings only for people not to attend?”

Coun Wilkinson went on to urge all town councillors to study a list of regulations designed to advise them on how to conduct themselves, so that ‘we can represent the people of this town.’

Coun Aron stressed the County Council was not refusing to meeting the town council. However, he said there was an agreed procedure in place for all town and parish councils to report highways issues.

He added the ‘Fix My Street’ reporting system was available and if anyone wasn’t happy with the outcome, they could contact him.

Coun Aron went on to defend his record, and told other councillors: “I am not the bad guy in all this.”

Coun Aron has clashed with Coun Richard Barker over a series of highways issues for several months.

He opposed setting up the Working Group which Coun Barker is a member of.

Coun Martin quickly stepped in and said no-one was suggesting Coun Aron was the ‘bad guy.’

When councillors attempted to question Coun Aron, Coun Martin said: “I’m sorry, but I’m not prepared to debate this any more.”

Instead, Coun Martin went on to add: “I have said on several occasions tonight that it’s important we all work together.

”There are a lot of (highways) issues in Horncastle outstanding - and they have been for some time. Clearly, we need to work with the County Council - not against them.”

Coun Martin revealed she had written to the officers, inviting them to another meeting.