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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Lake District National park budget targets missed

BAD weather has been blamed for an overspend in the Lake District National Park Authority’s budget.

A report sent to members of the authority’s resources committee showed a lower than forecast commercial income and a projected net overspend at the halfway point of the financial year.

The authority had aimed to add £62,000 to its reserves this year but instead said £216,000 would have to be taken out to fund the shortfall.

It predicted a further £363,000 would be taken from the authority’s earmarked reserves by the end of the year.

Kerry Powell, director of corporate services, said poor weather had affected the number of people using LDNPA car parks and the current economic climate meant people were spending less while they were visiting.

She said: “Our general reserve helps us to mitigate against the ebbs and flows of income. They can be volatile – that is the nature of trying to grow different income streams.”

The report showed car parking revenue for the year so far was £147,000 under budget, while income from planning and the authority’s boating centre at Coniston was £80,000 under budget.

Commercial income and growth were both identified as “below target”, with budgets revised down by £267,000 to £3.4m.

The figures mean the authority’s 10 per cent target for year-on-year growth looks likely to be missed, with forecasts predicting growth of 6.8 per cent this year. However, Mrs Powell said the figures should not be seen as a cause for serious concern.

She added: “We are not achieving the target that we set ourselves but we are not seeing a reduction in income – we are seeing growth.

“We are actually doing well in what is a very difficult climate.

“Over the medium term, we are going to continue to try and grow the income streams we have got so we can try and sustain the services we provide.”

While reserve balances were described as “healthy”, the end of year forecast for the general reserve was £811,000 – down on the £1m target identified in the authority’s medium-term financial strategy.

Have your say

Why should the LDNPA be looking for an income from "planning". I understood this part of their remit to be a public service and not for profit. Do local town councils generate income from planning applications?

Posted by Higgy on 19 November 2012 at 20:53

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