Warning cuts could hit town's finances

PUBLISHED: 09:27 28 April 2015 | UPDATED: 09:27 28 April 2015

Archant

Budleigh Salterton could be left out of pocket covering cuts to services by district and county council chiefs, it has been warned.

Councillor Courtney Richards, finance chairman on Budleigh Salterton Town Council, said its precept paid by ratepayers could have to increase as the town council was forced to intervene to stop the town looking ‘shabby’.

The town council said last month it would look at paying for ‘essential’ cutting of roadside grass verges, after Devon County Council announced it would be greatly reducing this service, while in recent years the town council has also paid for maintenance of seafront railings and street furniture previously carried out by other authorities.

Speaking at the annual town meeting, Cllr Richards said: “The town’s finances are very healthy, and for the fifth year running there has been no increase in the local precept, but I am not sure how long this can continue.

“We are starting to see both county and district councils cut back on the services they provide. This leaves the town council with two alternatives – let the town become shabby or pay for the work to be done.

“Obviously, the council has gone for option two - pay for the work to be done, and keep the town looking like the lovely place it is.”

Councillor Richards also talked about other expenses facing the council, including ongoing repairs to the Public Hall and the upkeep of the public toilets at Brook Road, but added that the council had money to cover this work in its resources

He also provided an update on the Upper Station Road car park, on which East Devon District Council (EDDC) is currently carrying out more survey work, having previously announced plans to make it pay and display.

Cllr Richards said that pending the outcome of next month’s election, he and town and district councillor Alan Dent were planning to resume negotiations with EDDC: “…to try and bring this to a conclusion which satisfies both EDDC and the residents of Budleigh Salterton.”

●Would you pay more to help keep the town beautiful? Email exmouth.letters@archant.co.uk

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