Council asks residents ‘Could we? Should we?’

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Have your say

A SERIES of public meetings is being held across Breckland District asking how council should cut its services.

Called Could we? Should we? the five open meetings will be held in the district’s market towns starting in Thetford on Monday September 17 at 7pm in the Carnegie Room.

An online survey will also start on the same day on the council’s website at 
www.breckland.gov.uk

Breckland faces a 70 per cent cut in Government funding and expects its budget will need to be cut by 29 per cent by 2015.

Earlier this year it said it needed to cut its budget by £3.5 million over the next five years, in spite of hundreds of thousands of pounds of savings already made and earning £3 million a year letting commercial properties.

A council spokeswoman said: “We are holding a series of public meetings to explain these measures to our residents and businesses and to get their views as to how we should make the savings needed.

“Which services do local people value most and think we should retain, and which are less important to them?

“Change is inevitable. We cannot continue to deliver services as we do now, but we want to make sure that the views of local people are taken into account when we re-shape the council and its role.”

The council has already run a feasibility study on introducing car park charges and has said other things it might look at include reducing support to local businesses, reducing or cutting business rate relief, cutting community car schemes and cutting various grants, including those to community groups and volunteer organisation like Citizens’ Advice Bureaux.

It might also scrap its residents’ magazine, stop community safety work and close offices.

Introducing charges for certain services, such as pre-planning meetings, is another consideration.

But the council has also asked residents to come up with ideas.

Meetings are also being held at 7pm at Dereham Memorial Hall on September 20, Attleborough Town Hall on September 24, Swaffham, Assembly Rooms, September 26, and Watton Queens Hall, October 2.