Ashfield budget results in

Ashfield District Council budget consultation
Ashfield District Council budget consultation

Nearly 80 per cent of Ashfield residents who responded to the district council’s budget consultation think that the Ashfield Festival should be cancelled in order to save money.

Ashfield District Council was asking residents how they think the authority should save £1.1m from its budget for the 2014/15 financial year following a cut in the amount of funding it receives from the Government.

One thousand people took part in the survey, stating which of the money-saving ideas put forward by the council they would prefer to see.

Responses indicated majority support for ten of the proposed areas, but five of the proposals polled less than 50 per cent.

Council leader Chris Baron said: “We intend to take residents’ views on board when shaping the budget for next year. I must stress that no decisions have been taken at this point.”

Seventy-nine per cent of respondents backed plans to cease holding the Ashfield Festival and save £72,000, making it the most popular of all the proposals.

In second place was closing Huthwaite Leisure Centre - saving £86,000.

Surprisingly, 58 per cent of respondents were in favour of raising council tax by two per cent, which would generate around £100,000.

The proposals with the least support were ceasing to provide grants to community groups, cutting the community protection team by up to four officers and ceasing to provide grants to voluntary bodies.

However, Selston councillor Gail Turner said that the consultation results were only released to opposition members after she demanded them to be so - and after she phoned the chief executive to complain.

“It’s outrageous. They are withholding information that all members are entitled to.

“We are preparing our own budget proposals and asked to see the results but were refused them,” she said.

The council did not comment on these accusations but confirmed that the information from the budget consultation has been given to all elected members.

Chief executive Philip Marshall said: “Further analysis of the responses has continued after this initial release.

“No decisions have yet been made on the budget proposals although some early outcomes following assessment of the feedback to the council indicate how the funding gap can be addressed.

“It was the intention of the council to issue a press release after employees had been advised of the emerging themes which was scheduled to occur this week.”

It will be setting its budget on 3rd March 2014.