FENLAND: Leader will hold talks with councillors on possible cuts

PUBLISHED: 19:19 15 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:10 02 June 2010

By John Elworthy FENLAND S ruling Conservative councillors are to be briefed by the leader on possible cuts in the wake of worsening economic conditions. Council Leader Geoff Harper will hold meetings in all four Fenland towns to explain where we go fro

By John Elworthy

FENLAND'S ruling Conservative councillors are to be briefed by the leader on possible cuts in the wake of worsening economic conditions.

Council Leader Geoff Harper will hold meetings in all four Fenland towns to explain "where we go from here, and how we manage the economic down turn".

The council is faced with having to save up to £750,000 following declining revenues from planning applications, reduced fee income from leisure centres, and low interest rates on investments.

It means projects such as a new leisure centre for Chatteris could remain a pipe dream and even some capital programmes already pencilled in could be axed.

Cllr Harper said: "We want to make sure all councillors have a say and you can't do that in a big meeting."

He said council had a reduction in income and he was still unclear about next year's central Government grant.

"If that's a black hole, then that's a black hole," he said.

Fenland Council had planned its spending on what income they thought they would receive but, like everyone else, had been hit by the credit crunch.

The news will be a blow to Chatteris Town Council who passed a motion calling on Fenland Council "to commit sufficient capital funds to build a Chatteris Leisure Centre to equal or better facilities currently enjoyed by all the other Fenland market towns".

Financial officer Ivan Cooper said the resolution was "indicative of the town council's frustration" and of past promises that had resulted in no visible signs of action.

However Cllr Harper said the district council had committed some money for leisure in Chatteris "not necessarily for a leisure centre".

Chatteris will be on the agenda for the next Cabinet meeting later this month.

Councillor Steve Garrett, portfolio holder for leisure, said: "We are contributing towards a full-size, all-weather pitch and changing rooms for Cromwell Community College.

"And people should not forget that we have also committed £250,000 to the King Edward Centre."

n Last month Fenland Council approved £912,000 of possible expenditure on refurbishment of Manor Leisure Centre, Whittlesey.


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