Residents in Skegness are being urged not to miss their chance to comment on proposed changes that could affect treasured assets such as the Fairy Dell.
Time is running out for residents to help East Lindsey District Council make tough decisions on how to achieve the £6 million savings required to balance the books over the next four years, as the reduction in government funding to support local services continues.
It’s important residents make their feelings known. We don’t want to lose any more of Skegness’ assetsCoun Malcolm Gabbitas
A public meeting in Skegness last week heard paddling pools and bowling greens were being considered under the title “service closures and transfers” – assets the town council could be invited to take over.
The meeting at the Town Hall only attracted a handful of members of the public, but the message of the importance of local opinion was stressed.
Coun Nick Guyatt, portfolio holder for finance, said: “Unlike the southeast and London we do not have economic growth in East Lindsey because of the seasonality of the area and the high percentage of people on benefits.
“East Lindsey District Council must become a lean efficient machine that responds to the needs of people.
“We will look after the most vulnerable and put money in economic development.
“We own most of the seafront – it’s a big asset that creates a positive contribution to revenue, benefits the town and creates employment.
“We have set up a working party to see how we can make the most of our assets.”
One member of the public suggested the council should lobby the Government to protest against the cuts in grants.
Coun Guyatt said: ”There would be no point complaining to the Government or asking why they are doing this. We have no choice. That is not why we are here. We want your views and any ideas you might have.
“Afterwards we can enter positive dialogue with the Government and tell them what we need. That is how they work.”
Town councillor Malcolm Gabbitas, who was there as a member of public, said he hoped the town council would consider taking over the Fairy Dell, which was saved and refurbished following a campaign spearheaded in the Skegness Standard 10 years ago and a petition by local boy Jack Oldbury with several thousand signatures.
He said: “The town has already had a lot of assets sold off, but we often don’t see any of that money. It was the same when Tesco came. That raised £8 million, but the money was used to build Louth Leisure Centre.
“I’d like to see the town council take the Fairy Dell over, but it’s important residents make their feelings known. We don’t want to lose any more of Skegness’ assets.”
The consultation closes tomorrow at 5pm. Residents and businesses are being asked to have their say on the following:
a) The draft Transformation Programme - a list of some of the projects that could help to achieve the budget reductions required.
b) The Draft Budget, which proposes a council tax increase of 4.06 per cent - 9.5p a week for those living in a Band D property. c) The Medium Term Financial Plan.
To get involved, visit the survey here