Church Stretton Town Council are to launch a Community Consultation over the future funding of such services as the LIbrary, Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool. This is in reponse to Shropshire Council’s proposal to cease their funding of such services throughout the county from next April.
Shropshire Council have however insisted that Town and Parish Councils should have their options for alternative funding formulated by September.
Realistically, this leaves the Town Council only the month of July to formally consult with the community and August in which to work on its recommendations before presenting them to Shropshire Council in September.
All this at a time of year when many townsfolk are likely to be away on holiday.
For Shropshire Council to impose such a tight timescale at this time of year on a matter of such fundamental importance is unhelpful, to say the very least.
Church Stretton Town Council have appointed a small group of councillors to lead on this process and CSLSGL have invited members of the Town Council to attend the Public Meeting on Tuesday 17th, when we may hopefully learn more.
The full text of the Town Council Press Release is given below.
CHURCH STRETTON TOWN COUNCIL
PRESS RELEASE – 11th MAY 2016
COMMUNITY CONSULTATION ALERT
At last night’s Council meeting, councillors expressed grave concerns about the scale and speed with which Shropshire Council is now proposing to cease all funding of discretionary services, such as Libraries, Leisure Centres and Swimming Pools as from next April.
This will hit small towns, such as Church Stretton and surrounding parishes, harder than larger towns, which have bigger populations to share the funding of such services. Potentially, this will be very socially divisive, leaving more rural areas with even less access to such services than they have now.
Shropshire Council are asking the Council, in concert with surrounding Parish Councils and community organisations, to come up with alternative funding or options for these services by as soon as September. To illustrate the scale of the task, the Library has known users from 29 surrounding parishes with whom we will need to consult, whilst the shortfall in the funding for the Leisure Centre alone next year could be as much as £90,000.
The Town Council has appointed a small group of councillors to lead on the on going discussions with Shropshire Council, to consult with surrounding parishes, to investigate realistic alternative means of funding or providing these services and to devise the most effective means of community consultation within the short time-scale.
The Council will only have the month of July, in which to formally consult with the local community and surrounding parishes in order to establish the degree of willingness locally to fund these services, if no alternative options for these “At Risk” services have been identified.
Throughout August, the Council will work on its recommendations to present to Shropshire Council in September, as required. The summer months are obviously the least opportune time to undertake this work.
The newly re-elected Mayor, Cllr. Mike Walker, said: “Because of the wide range of services currently provided by the Council, councillors are very aware that Church Stretton already has the highest local council tax in the county. For that reason, we place great store in consulting with our local community and surrounding parishes on which services they are willing to fund in future.”
For further information, contact the Mayor or Town Clerk – details below:-
Church Stretton Town Council
60 High Street
Tel: 01694 723608