Playhouse to be sold and libraries to shut?

SELLING The Playhouse, shutting down four of the area's libraries and cutting funding to voluntary groups are among the drastic measures councillors are being asked to consider.

SELLING The Playhouse, shutting down four of the area’s libraries and cutting funding to voluntary groups are among the drastic’ measures councillors are being asked to consider.

Members of a panel set up to help take care of the area’s leisure facilities will hold a closed meeting later this month to consider the latest money saving initiatives.

An email has been sent to North Somerset councillors on behalf of panel chairman, Councillor Clive Webb, outlining his suggestions for ideas that could save the local authority nearly £900,000.

The Mercury understands the move comes after council leader Nigel Ashton has asked for five per cent cuts in each department’s budget.

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The email, forwarded to the panel by a council officer, includes details of closing libraries at Banwell, Worle, Congresbury and Pill. It also suggests closing the tourist information centre on Weston’s seafront and letting the building out, cutting funding to voluntary groups across the district and selling Weston’s popular theatre in the High Street.

He also suggests closing down the Ready4Work service, an initiative to help get people back into employment, in order to save about £60,000.

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The email said: “I am emailing you on behalf of your chairman, Cllr Webb, who would like to request a workshop session following straight on from the strategic planning and economic development (SPED) meeting on October 1.

“The SPED panel meeting will come to a close and then the members of the panel will go into a closed session to discuss money saving initiatives.

“Before this session please could you give some thought to areas where the council could be more efficient or save money.

“Cllr Webb has asked me to circulate the drastic suggestions he has made for money saving ideas to spark debate.”

The email then went on to outline Cllr Webb’s ideas.

As the Weston & Somerset Mercury went to press yesterday (Wed), Cllr Webb said: “We will run through some possible ways to save money. They won’t happen. We are just looking at possibilities.”

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