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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Millom public toilets face axe in budget cuts

MILLOM’S only remaining public toilet block could close and car parks may shut as part of radical Copeland budget cuts.

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UNDER THREAT: The St George’s Road toilets in Millom. Inset, Copeland Borough Council leader Elaine Woodburn and deputy opposition leader Alistair Norwood

Copeland Borough Council announced it needs to save £2.6m from its budget between 2013 and 2015.

Proposals to save that money are due to be signed off by councillors today, ahead of a public consultation.

As part of the borough’s discretionary service cuts, the grant provided to Millom Town Council for the upkeep of the St George’s Road toilets would be stopped.

The loos were the last remaining in the town, after the Lancashire Road toilets were closed in April last year.

Millom, Haverigg and Bootle’s borough council-owned car parks also face an uncertain future.

The car parks, including Lancashire Road and Lord Street, in Millom, and Foreshore at Haverigg and Church Lane, in Bootle, will be offered to community groups as a Community Asset Transfer.

But Copeland has warned they could be closed if they are not taken over.

Council leader Councillor Elaine Woodburn said the cuts were “unavoidable”.

She said: “We are facing the biggest budget challenge we have ever faced, and over the next few months are going to have to consider some very drastic options.

“As a council, we realise that the only way we can successfully meet the budget cuts that are being imposed on us is by taking a fundamental look at the services we provide.”

Forty council jobs may be lost in the shake-up.

Among those would be members of the council’s economic development, localities and communities teams.

The Discretionary Concessionary Travel Scheme is also earmarked to be scrapped, at a saving of £30,000 for the council. The scheme offers £28 travel vouchers to eligible pensioners or disabled residents as an alternative to a bus pass.

Councillor Alistair Norwood, deputy leader of the opposition (Conservative group), said: “Our focus will always remain delivering the best that we can for the people of the borough, and working with partners to ensure they deliver this as well.

“This is the only way we can protect services and jobs.”

In a further blow to Millom, the floral display in the park next to Millom Palladium could be removed and re-seeded with grass, as the borough does away with annual flower bedding.

And grass cutting on borough-owned verges and greens will only be cut twice a year under the proposals.

Cllr Norwood added: “We’re not making these cuts because we’ve not been running things properly. Copeland is a well organised, prudent council.

“The reason the cuts have hit us so hard is because we weren’t frivolously spending money on things that could be cut easily.

“People are going to have to look more to themselves than they do Copeland.”

Cllr Woodburn added: “We can’t kid ourselves. Once these services go, they won’t be provided by Copeland again.”

Copeland MP Jamie Reed commented: “The fact that all the political groups on Copeland Council are facing up to the government’s spending cuts and working together on how to mitigate the effects of these is welcome – but there can be no doubt that the sheer scale of the cuts imposed upon local government in Cumbria is an act of vandalism by the coalition government.

“The very fabric of our local civic society is being knowingly battered by this government.

“The even worse news is that the cuts won’t stop here – there will be more to follow until local government structures in Cumbria are rendered simply unviable.”

The consultation on the Copeland budget cuts will start on Friday and is expected to run for 10 weeks. See www.copeland.gov.uk for more details.

Have your say

Closing the public toilets in Millom is ridiculous. I work around Millom some days and always need to use a toilet. What are people like me supposed to do? Next thing they'll be prosecuting people for relieving themselves in public. idiotic quangos strike again !!!

Posted by Stephen on 13 October 2012 at 07:14

Closing the public toilets in Millom is ridiculous. I work around Millom some days and always need to use a toilet. What are people like me supposed to do? Next thing they'll be prosecuting people for relieving themselves in public. idiotic quangos strike again !!!

Posted by Stephen on 13 October 2012 at 07:02

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