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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Carlisle council's proposed budget returns for second debate

Controversial changes to Carlisle’s play parks are likely to come under the spotlight again tonight when councillors resume their budget debate.

A meeting earlier this month – when the budget was due to be finalised but had to be adjourned for changes to be approved by the executive group – heard from angry protesters against the move.

The changes would see 21 city parks stripped of their swings, roundabouts and slides to save £25,000. Council leaders argue that the parks are underused and the true cost of bringing them up to standard would be just under £400,000.

But protesters want the city council to reverse its decision and instead pump money into improving the parks, at the expense of the Old Fire Station art centre scheme.

Conservative Gareth Ellis, at the earlier meeting, said that the Labour-controlled authority had made mistakes in identifying certain parks as underused, including the one in his ward.

Less controversial changes, including accepting the Government’s offer of a council tax freeze for two years, and freezing allowances, were agreed by the executive on Tuesday night.

The proposed budget now returns for what should be its final debate.

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