Shropshire town councils given more time to find funding

Town councils in Shropshire have been given an extra 12 months to find ways of funding services such as libraries and leisure centres…

Shropshire Council leader Malcolm Pate has granted town councils a reprieve by offering 12 months longer to find funding alternatives for services such as libraries and leisure centres.

Pate said the move was feasible because the council had located “a little bit of money” in its budget, which will give towns and parishes more time to make plans for non-essential services.

The news follows significant outcry over the loss of services in Ludlow. Nearly 150 people attended a meeting to safeguard key services.

Town and parish councils in Shropshire had been told they needed to find alternative funding streams for libraries, museums, youth, and leisure centres by September, with budgets set to be cut to zero from April 2017. The decision to extend this deadline will undoubtedly be welcome by smaller councils.

Speaking to the Shropshire Star, Pate said: “We have listened carefully to town and parish councils.

“The conclusion that we have come to is that probably the deadline of September was too short a period. We have found a little bit of money to give them more time to develop their plans – about 12 months.

“We want to help them, we want to talk to them, to see ways we can continue to develop these community services.

“As far as we are concerned, it is not ‘us and them’, it’s us working together to deliver those community services which we know are valued in our villages and towns.”

Andy Boddington, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow North said: “I am very glad that an impossible timescale has now been abandoned. Its threat that parish councils had to agree to take on services by September caused much anger.”

He added: “As much as we hate and disagree with what is going on, we must still work with the council on service transfers.

“Not to do so would let our community down, especially our more vulnerable residents.”


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