Fenland District Council launches consultation to save £1.8m

Wisbech 20-20 update Steve Barclay MP, David Rudlin, Peter Simpson, John Clarke, Graham Hughes and Neil Darwin ANL-151206-171635009
Wisbech 20-20 update Steve Barclay MP, David Rudlin, Peter Simpson, John Clarke, Graham Hughes and Neil Darwin ANL-151206-171635009

People in Fenland will be able to have their say on which services could be reduced as councillors try to save £1.8 million over the next three years.

Fenland District Council is launching a consultation in the coming weeks to find out where residents feel the money should be saved.

The council has already made £8 million worth of savings but needs to find more as budgets tighten due to austerity cuts.

The first of three rounds of consultation is due to start shortly with a questionnaire which will ask people which services should be reduced.

Leader of the council John Clark said: “The council has managed to find £8 million of savings which haven’t really affected any services.

“But this further £1.8 million is going to impact on the services residents receive, so it is important that people have their say.

“We apologise for the bluntness of the message but these are the facts.

“The officers need a clear steer from the members of how to achieve this £1.8 million of savings.

“The decisions are just getting harder.”

The first round of consultation is due to begin on September 14 when the questionnaire will be sent out to the 44,000 homes in Fenland.

Services provided by the council are listed with the questionnaire and asks residents which should be reduced. Among the services listed include bin collections, car parks, helping people to get benefits, business premises, grants, travel schemes, along with looking after streets, parks and cemeteries.

People have four weeks to return the questionnaires.

Mr Clark said: “Ultimately, what I would like to see is early next year to have the £1.8 million savings agreed and how these will be implemented.

“If the economy turns and we get better business rates retention, or new homes bonus, or finances change, then these changes will also be relaxed.”

The council has already reduced its staffing levels from 626 to 389 to make savings. It has also joined with other councils to provide shared benefits, council tax, building control and planning services.

n See Fenlander on page 14.