Report on Ashfield’s future sent to every house

MAPPING OUT THE FUTURE OF ASHFIELD -- council leader, Coun John Knight (Lab), pictured centre, formerly of Hucknall
MAPPING OUT THE FUTURE OF ASHFIELD -- council leader, Coun John Knight (Lab), pictured centre, formerly of Hucknall

THE FUTURE facing Ashfield District Council — and the impact it will have on Hucknall residents — has been set out in an annual report to be sent to every household.

The document is divided into various sections, from council services to the economy, environment and communities.

It states that the biggest challenge facing the council is balancing its budgets in the face of cuts to funding from central government.

As previously reported in the Dispatch, the council intends to save £5 million in the next five years while protecting services.

The report reveals that in 2010/11, Ashfield received £10 million in a grant from the government. That has been slashed by the maximum 23% to £7.7 million for the financial year to March 2013.

The report explains that an ‘efficiency programme’ has been launched and all services are being scrutinised.

The leader of Ashfield Council, Coun John Knight (Lab), who formerly represented Hucknall, states: “The last year has seen many changes at the council as we continue to face a number of challenges.

“We have embarked on a substantial journey of improvement, putting in place significant and far-reaching changes to improve our performance and service delivery.”

He adds: “The economic climate continues to be tough for everyone and you will see from our statement of accounts that Ashfield has more than its share of financial challenges.

“Despite this, the council is determined that the positive trends we have started to see continue and we provide the best-quality services we can.”

The report highlights successes in the district — from environmental Green Flags for five local parks, including Titchfield Park in Hucknall, to supporting community groups, bringing empty houses back into use and improving council houses.

Part of the document is devoted to a residents’ survey asking how the council’s £17 million budget should be spent in 2012/13.

It also asks what level of increase there should be in the district’s council tax.

Coun John Wilmott (Lab), of Hucknall, who is deputy leader of Ashfield Council, said: “Although we’re in a position where we have to make huge savings, the report shows we are on top of it and without having to decimate services.”