A few question marks still remain over key services in Fleetwood after Lancashire County Council approved its budget for the 2016/17 financial year.
County Hall’s full council meeting last Thursday night ratified the cuts to services originally agreed by the cabinet last November, in the face of massive savings the council needs to make,
We are acutely aware of the impact of these decisions and have listened to the views of local people
The significance to Fleetwood is that County confirmed it is axing funding to Fleetwood Museum, subsidised bus services in the town, the Fleetwood to Knott End ferry and 40 of Lancashire’s 74 libraries.
As County funding is no longer an option for these facilities, some alternative proposals are now being brought in by other paries.
• Museum: In the case of the town’s museum, Fleetwood Town Council has already stated it is looking to take over the funding of the Queens Terrace facility from county, after agreeing to increase its council tax “precept” bill last month. The museum was faced with closure and a petition was set up to rally support.
The town council is putting in a declaration of interest to County and will then discuss finer cost details with County Hall and museum building owner Wyre Council. It is still not certain that the museum can open in time for Easter.
Trustees and volunteers from the Fleetwood Museumhave set up a petition to keep it safe from closure
• Buses: It has been confirmed that County funding to subsidise the Stagecoach bus services 74,84,86, 89 and 89H will end and those services will now discontinue in early April.
However, another bus firm, Catch 22, says it will now take over some of those services. Separate to that, County Council has also just set up a new Cabinet Working Group on Bus Services to look at the impact of the cuts to subsidised buses, with a pot of £2m to look at across the county.
• Knott End ferry: County match funds £85,000 funding for Fleetwood to Knott End ferry with Wyre Council. County’s funding is set to end in April 2017 but various measures are being looked at to save it, including possible support from the Cabinet Working Group on Bus Services.
• Libraries: County has yet to decide which 40 branches out of its total of 74 will close at the end of March, with another consultation underway and the possibility that in some cases, others community groups could take over the running of some branches. No decision has yet been made on the Fleetwood or Northfleet branches.
County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “We face an unprecedented financial challenge as a result of relentless cuts in central government funding combined with a rising demand for our services, which means we’ve had to take a number of extremely difficult decisions.
“We are acutely aware of the impact of these decisions and have listened to the views of local people.”