Car parking charges and cutting Community House as possible savings

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Introducing car parking charges or reducing CCTV could be some of the ways Fenland District Council considers as it tries to save £1.8 million over the next few years.

Members are facing stark choices after the council has reviewed all of its departments.

The council has already achieved its £800,000 savings for the 2016 budget but is now looking to the 2017 and 2018 financial years.

A comprehensive spending review has been circulated to councillors who will make a final decision next year.

Suggestions for savings include shutting Community House in Wisbech, ceasing to provide public toilets along with selling assets such as land around Wisbech Marina, under performing business units and a homeless hostel.

Council leader John Clark said: “This document highlights the council’s current position and that we have lots of choices.

“Yes there are difficult choices to make but I think we are still ahead of the curve and we can make a lot of small choices or save on bigger items to produce the bulk of the savings.

“It is a difficult process and we are not going to keep everyone happy but I think people can see it has been open and transparent and their representatives have done the best they can.”

The council conducted a consultation with all households in September and this received 6,360 responses, which highlighted Wisbech Marina as an area where savings could be found.

Within the spending review, it states that the council has some statutory duties with regards to the marina. But potential savings could be found by increasing wharfage fees, outsourcing elements or a wind farm.

The council currently spends £146,622 on community grants, which includes support for the Citizens Advice Bureau, Wisbech and Fenland Museum along with Young People March. One option available to the council would be to cut or reduce these.

Last year, people in Wisbech spoke out against plans to close Community House in Waterlees. The service was saved after the Department for Work and Pensions gave a £28,020 grant but as this will not be available again so the future is once more unclear.

Street Pride service costs £43,040. The review suggests that savings between £10,600 and £43,040 could be made by discontinuing grants or the service.

Scaling down the street sweeping, flytipping responses and litter picking could save £100,00 or could be outsourced.

The council could generate more money by expanding its commercial and domestic waste and recycling service while contracting out the bin collections could also bring in savings.

The council also spends £103,200 under the four seasons budget. Savings between £33,000 and £11,000 have been suggested by either reducing staff to these events or ceasing grants.

Potential savings have also been identified by altering the CCTV provision in Fenland with options ranging from reducing staffing to axing the service.

The council currently spends £31,000 on the area’s public toilets but could save £10,000 by ceasing the service or £26,000 by devolving it to other councils.

The four leisure centres in Fenland cost £2,680,610 but bring in £2,198,190. Options for savings could include changing the management, closing an aspect or even a leisure centre.

The council currently runs 20 car parks, of which two are leased, and spends £322,500. But it could make savings by cutting winter gritting or cancelling leases but £400,000 to £1.26m could be generated if car parking charges are introduced.