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Friday, 06 March 2015

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Copeland council edging closer to major cost-saving cuts

A devastating cull of services in Copeland looks set to become a reality after they were agreed by the council’s executive.

Funding cuts: Whitehaven Civic Hall

The cuts – which are being proposed as the council battles to save £3 million by 2015 – will now go to the full council next week for the final say.

They include the closure of Whitehaven’s tourist information centre and all the borough’s public toilets, as well as the cancellation of Christmas lights, the concessionary travel scheme, and doorstep collections of cardboard and plastic.

Under its proposed budget and pending final approval next week, the council could also withdraw funding to North Country Leisure (NCL), the operators of Whitehaven Civic Hall and Cleator Moor Bowls and Sports Centre, and both venues will close in November unless alternative financial arrangements are found.

Funding will also be reduced to two other NCL-managed facilities, Whitehaven Sports Centre and Copeland Swimming Pool. But these are expected to remain open, albeit with possible reduced opening hours and increased charges.

The council will also withdraw funding to The Beacon museum, although talks are ongoing between the council and Sellafield Ltd to keep this running.

It is also planned to reduce the frequency of grass cutting, and to remove street furniture and public flower displays.

Charges are also set to increase for council-owned car parks, cemeteries and crematoriums.

The only service to be spared the axe is garden (brown bin) collections. It is now planned that collections will continue, but they will cease during winter months. Plans to charge residents for having black bins replaced have also been scrapped.

Copeland Council has been forced to slash services after having a third of its budget cut by the Government. It was the eighth-worst-hit council in the country and must save around £3m by 2015.

All the proposals were agreed by Copeland council’s Executive councillors this week, and pending agreement by the full council on February 21, they would be introduced in April.


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