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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Grange Town Council hikes tax to afford public toilets

TAXES in a South Lakeland town will be hiked by more than half to cover a hole in the budget of the district council.

Grange Town Council took over the running of two public toilets, the tourist information centre and the allotments at Grange Fell Road from South Lakeland District Council in the 2011-12 term.

SLDC could no longer afford to run the facilities.

The town council now needs more money from residents to cover its additional costs and precepts in Grange will rise by an average of £23.30 from April.

Grange Town Council will collect £134,742 from the increased rates.

Councillors debated the rise at a meeting of Grange Town Council.

Robert Cass, financial services manager for Grange Town Council, said in the summary: “The 2012-13 budget signals a determination by Grange Town Council to protect and enhance a number of key facilities in the community.

“All of these have been considered essential to the well-being of the town and its attraction to visitors.

“A significant part of the additional commitments has been a response to the withdrawal of services by the district council.”

The charge, on top of SLDC’s council tax levvy, will rise from £40.40 to £64.10 for a band ‘D’ property.

It is an increase of around 45p per week – the equivalent of a pint of milk.

The new budget will include £23,990 to run public toilets and build a disabled-friendly facility on the Promenade, and £19,500 to refurbish the Victoria Hall.

Mayor Tom Harvey said he felt the increase gave good value for money for residents.

Resident Pauline Wilson, who lives on Grange Fell, said the facilities were vital to the town and without them it would suffer.

Mrs Wilson said: “In a recession, it doesn’t surprise me. I don’t really see how we can object. If we lost the facilities, it would be a detriment to the town.

“We just have to bite the bullet and go with it. Besides, if you think of it in long terms, it isn’t that much.”

But some residents are unsure. Dorothy Hornung agrees that the facilities are needed but is concerned about funding.

Mrs Hornung said: “I think it’s terrible that SLDC closed the toilets and it’s good that the town council took them on.

“We get so many visitors, it’s vital.

“It all comes down to the fact that there’s no money and I don’t know where it’s all going to come from.”

Have your say

The volume of visitors the Town gets in the Summer Months we must have public toilet facilities even if the residents have to pay for them through the council tax.
We are a visitor friendly Town and it must continue.

Posted by Russell Bloxsom on 13 January 2012 at 15:58

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