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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Just 150 people respond to Copeland council budget cuts survey

Fewer than 150 people have so far responded to a consultation about the biggest budget cuts in Copeland in decades.

cecicivfiler
Funding cuts: Whitehaven Civic Hall

Residents are being urged to have their say in a bid to protect funds for services after Copeland Borough Council announced cuts amounting to £2.6 million.

The proposals include closing Whitehaven Civic Hall, cancelling Christmas lights from 2015, closing public toilets and Whitehaven’s tourist information centre, as well as stopping some doorstep recycling.

Councillors fear that some residents outside Whitehaven may not respond to the consultation due to the major cuts being in the town and have urged residents to make theirvoices heard.

It is believed that so far around 130 formal responses have been sent to the council, despite widespread criticism of the cuts.

Councillor Reg Heathcote, a member of Copeland council, said: “I would urge everybody to put their view forward. The cuts are going to affect everybody in the future so the more people that give their views, the better. There will be little funding in the future. It’s like if you do not vote, you can’t criticise. People must take part.”

Among Copeland’s cuts package was a reduction in grass cutting and the scrapping of flower bedding on council-owned green spaces.

County councillor Ray Cole said these services would impact on the smaller areas.

“We want to keep what we have but how will we pay for it?

“My thought is that if you stop maintaining it the place will start to look run down. It is a downward spiral. What are the priorities?”

Mr Cole said the important thing was for the council to act on behalf of residents – rather than themselves.

Drop-in sessions are ongoing and residents are being urged to attend.

Copeland leader Elaine Woodburn encouraged “as many people as possible” to attend the sessions.

“Whilst a number of people have already responded to the consultation, we know that many more people will have an opinion,” she said. “Please do take the time to give us this, so that the difficult decisions we have to take because of government cuts are based on your views.”

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