6,360 people respond to savings survey

Fenland District Council leader John Clark ANL-150714-101315005
Fenland District Council leader John Clark ANL-150714-101315005
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More than 6,300 people have had their say on where Fenland District Council should look to find £1.8 million of savings.

The district council launched an initial public consultation in September to ask people where they feel the cuts should be made.

Council leader John Clark says the council is facing a “huge financial challenge” as its budgets get smaller due to the Government’s austerity measures. The council has already made £8 million worth of cuts in five years.

A total of 6,360 people took part in the consultation, which closed on October 26.

A report will be published later this month after the responses have been collated and analysed.

People were asked to indicate at least six of a possible 19 services where they felt costs could best be reduced. They were also asked to say which of seven other possible ways the council could make savings they would prefer to be considered first.

Residents were also able to add their own comments on ways in which the council could bridge the funding gap.

Cllr Clark is pleased residents have got involved with the consultation.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted with the response and I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time and trouble to give us their feedback. What they have told us will play an important part in our future decision-making.

“However, we also have to bear in mind all those who, for whatever reason, haven’t taken part in this survey. The tough decisions we are having to take will have major long-term implications and we need to consider what is best for everyone in Fenland. So it is very important that we do not rush those decisions.”

Cllr Clark stressed that the survey was only the first stage in a continuing consultation process.

Two special workshops are to be held on November 16 and 18, giving all district councillors the chance to examine various cost-cutting options. They will then give officers the task of working up in more detail the options they want to be taken forward.

Following that, further public consultation will be held in the new year, when residents will be presented with more detailed financial information about the cost-cutting measures deemed to be the most practicable and asked to comment again on those.