Celebrating the 50th anniversary of North Kesteven District Council

The photograph shows the crest of North Kesteven District Council, in the Council's courtyard at its offices in Sleaford.
April 1, 2024 marks 50 years since the formation of North Kesteven District Council

Fifty years ago today, on April 1, 1974, North Kesteven District Council opened for business.

Born out of three smaller district councils and taking on aspects of work from the former Kesteven County Council – all of which had duly served the area for the previous 40 years – the new Council set out with various roles, responsibilities and relationships.

Fifty years on, North Kesteven District Council continues to serve its residents, businesses and visitors with clear purpose and a far-sighted view on making things better for its flourishing communities. 

This is most clearly exemplified in its immediate 10-year plan to invest a record £270m in more and better housing, enhanced business opportunities, functions and facilities; to work in partnership with all other councils, health agencies and public services locally; and to promote and progress climate action for a carbon net-zero future.

With staff moving over from the county offices and the old Sleaford Urban, East Kesteven Rural and North Kesteven Rural councils as well as being drawn in from across the country, there was a tangible sense of a bright new dawn on April 1, 1974. There was a newly-elected group of Councillors and everyone was set to ‘follow the right road’ as the newly-minted motto quoting Cicero put it: ‘Rectam Viiam Sequi’.

Sleaford Urban District Council had 25 staff serving 9,000 people in the town, Quarrington and Holdingham, while the larger North Kesteven Rural District Council (as was) served 44,000 people from the Lincoln city boundary down to the Cliff Villages and Metheringham, and East Kesteven’s 30-40 staff took care of a further 20,000 people to the east and south.

On April 1, 1974 one council - operating from four separate sites - now covered 365 square miles and served around 73,000 people. Today that population has grown to almost 120,000 living in nearly 55,000 homes and there are 5,000 businesses in the District, with the present day District Council’s 420 colleagues working in some capacity or another to provide services for or support to all of them.

We still benefit from the wisdom and experiences of a number of colleagues who joined in those early youthful days – even one who was here on day one – and councillors in their fourth decade of service. Combining that legacy of longevity with the energy and freshness in approach of recent starters and newly-elected Members, contributes to a melting pot of extraordinary loyalty, dedication and purpose totalling maybe 5,000 or more years of ongoing commitment to the people, place and purpose of North Kesteven.

Looking forward into the next 50 years it is impossible to say what the shape of local government will be in 2074 – whether the units will be larger or smaller, what might be devolved from central government or passed up for regional determination, etc. What is certain is that North Kesteven District Council, through its Members, its colleagues and its positive relationship with partners, will always seek to be a high-performing, value-for-money Council that it responsive, responsible and reflective to the needs of its communities and delivers (day-in, day-out, year by year) services which are excellent, effective, efficient and exemplary.

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