Town council to bid for parks and other services
PUBLISHED: 13:00 27 October 2011
PARKS, recreation grounds, car parks and a range of other services across Weston and Worle could pass into the hands of the town council.
With North Somerset Council needing to shed £47.3million in the next three years, Weston Town Council is looking at a range of services it could take over.
And while a deal to run parks, recreation grounds and CCTV in the town is currently being negotiated, there is also the possibility the town body will bid for car parks, public toilets and part of the youth service.
Ratepayers in the town currently pay extra money to North Somerset Council in the form of special expenses, which go towards the running of parks and recreation areas such as Clarence Park and Baytree Recreation Ground, as well as CCTV.
Town councillor Peter Crew believes this deal, which would see the town’s council tax precept raised, would not cost ratepayers any more money as the special expenses would be scrapped.
Cllr Crew added the deal could also see flowers in Grove and Clarence Parks and Alexandra Parade provided by the current contractor at no extra cost.
But with the unitary authority keen to shed some of its commitments in the light of an unprecedented raft of financial cutbacks, town councillors are keen to take on the extra responsibility for services around the town to stop them closing.
A deal to take over Weston Library will not be discussed as part of the proposal.
At Monday’s meeting of the policy and finance committee councillors agreed that town clerk Malcolm Nicholson should approach North Somerset with a view to taking on public toilets, car parks and areas of the youth service, which is facing cuts of around 75 per cent.
Councillor Robert Payne said: “Generally I am very much in favour of devolving things from North Somerset to us at a more local level. However we will have to make sure that we take on services which can make us money as opposed to the ones which North Somerset simply wants to get rid of.”
Another councillor, Tony Probert, said: “One of the areas that is looking likely to lose most of its funding and that I am concerned about, is the youth service.
“I think we should say to North Somerset that if we take on the youth service they should also hand us over the car parks.”