Cuts loom large as Great Yarmouth Borough Council launches biggest consultation in years

Great Yarmouth seafront.   Picture: James Bass Great Yarmouth seafront. Picture: James Bass

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
9:23 AM

Closing public toilets, charging more for burials and selling off council buildings are just some of the ways Great Yarmouth Borough Council believes it could save money.

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Suggested shake ups and what they could nominally save or generate:

Increase fees for cemetery and cremation - £98,000.

Generate income through greater renting out of spaces in parks and open spaces, eg to local buisnesses for cafes - £76,000.

Charge people council tax who are using mobile homes as permanent residences - £75,000.

Review and reduce footpath and decorative lighting, where safe and appropriate - £63,000.

Close the borough council’s cash offices and help customers to move on to other payment methods - £60,000.

Carry out a review of all the grants the borough council provides to voluntary and community organisations, and introduce a new approach to awarding grants - £50,000.

Review and reduce the number of public toilets (currently the borough council spends £514,000 a year providing 22 toilet blocks) - £42,000.

Introduce a charge for pre-application planning advice - £42,000.

Expand the building control services the borough council offers to generate additional income - £42,000.

Review and rationalise council buildings outside of the Town Hall complex - £40,000.

Increase the fees for court summons for people who have not paid their council tax - £26,000.

The proposed cuts were laid bare yesterday as the borough council launched its biggest public consultation in years, calling on residents to have their say and suggest their own money-saving or income-generating ideas as the cash-strapped authority looks to plug a £4.7m funding gap over the next four years.

The council is looking to save £1.5m in 2015/16.

Leader Trevor Wainwright said the authority had already identified £1.1m of savings without touching frontline services by moving more services online, renegotiating external contracts and sharing services. But he repeated the stark warning that “there will inevitably be increasingly difficult choices ahead”.

The consultation paper puts forward 11 ideas on how to save money or increase income, from increasing cemetery and cremation fees and renting out spaces in public parks, to closing the borough council’s cash offices, reducing the number of public toilets and reviewing the way the council hands out cash grants to community or voluntary groups.

The suggestions are “not set in stone” but suggest how the council will be cutting back as central government funding continues to drop. “There are 11 things here for people to comment on, ways we know we can increase income quickly,” said Mr Wainwright.

“There are ways we could save huge amounts of money right away, we could save half a million pounds now if we closed all the toilet blocks. But this is giving residents the opportunity to genuinely have their say, to tell us what they want.”

After saving £1.1m “behind the scenes”, the council must still find £400,000 of savings for 2015/16. The 11 proposals put forward in the survey would save an estimated £600,000, suggesting that not all would have to be taken immediately.

Mr Wainwright said ideas from the public would be taken seriously and considered alongside internal ideas and proposals from PricewaterhouseCoopers consultants, who were brought in at the start of April to tighten up the budget for 2014/15.

At the same time as having a say on how to save money in the next nine months, the public are being asked for their “aims and aspirations for the borough” – a bid to shape a long-term vision and find out what residents consider a priority for spending, whether it is street cleaning, investment in tourism, flood management or the creation of jobs.

Interim chief executive Gordon Mitchell, who joined the council earlier this month, said: “This isn’t just an exercise in which cuts will be the least damaging.

“The council needs to be clear on how people want the future of Great Yarmouth to be. In budget terms, that’s focusing on investing in what is best for the borough for years to come.”

• The consultation, which runs until October 20, can be completed online here. Paper copies can be picked up from the Town Hall with a pre-paid envelope.

• Where do you think the council should make savings? Email lauren.rogers@archant.co.uk

14 comments

  • No legacy payments from giving away council land to outer harbour then?

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    The Lone Gunman

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • No legacy payments from giving away council land to outer harbour then?

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    The Lone Gunman

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • NICK, its all thanks to brandon lewis our local(haha) mp. no one else is to blame.

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    calmudownboy

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • NICK, its all thanks to brandon lewis our local(haha) mp. no one else is to blame.

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    calmudownboy

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • NICK, its all thanks to brandon lewis our local(haha) mp. no one else is to blame.

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    calmudownboy

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • How come GY cuts have been assessed by central government on such a massive scale, when Norwich reductions in spending are so modest? They are just in the process of receiving £200 Million for the NDR and Poswick road schemes, Have had countless other funding, including funding from the LEP where the 'enterprise zone' is in Yarmouth!!! I don't think the council can make 30% savings without serious consequences.

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    Nick

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • As there seems to be a lot of Land & Property to let on the council's website, instead of holding out for someone to pay "unaffordable"rents, why not put them out IMMEDIATELY to a General Public Tender? This way the councillors will avoid any accusations of allowing council assets being used "on the cheap", and at the same time bring in quite a lot of extra rental income as these properties become let. This way we all benefit from less empty eyesores, such as the site opposite Staples, or the North Drive Boating Lake.

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    grafter

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • I am sure that anyone who has ever been pregnant, had small children, is elderly, has got off a train at Yarmouth station when the toilets are shut, uses the bus station, is in town after the cafes have shut, does not like depending on pubs-would wish all Yarmouth councillors prostate problems, an irritable bowel, the closure of all toilets at the town hall and a life time driving ban just so they know what it is like to need a public loo and not be able to find one. The Victorians and Edwardians regarded them as a progressive measure and essential to public health and welfare and here we go facing the closure of even more of them. Gravel the roundabouts get rid of the forests atop of them and save the maintenance costs -and make them easier to use in the bargain. There's one saving.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • You couldnt make all this up could you. We have nothing in GY and now we will not have a pot to p*** in. The same old faces have been letting the town fall to bits for decades. failing to provide what locals needed, failing to enforce what regulations they could used to keep the town respectable-both in terms of the built environment and the occupants, failing to put the infrastructure where people needed it. Just as an example- ( if I recall correctly)for years, because of a rip off management agreement, the Marina cost every GYBC council tax payer £19 pa -a rubbish pool for holiday makers.The people of GY need to gather in front of the town hall and show they no longer have confidence in the council-waiting for an election to replace a few of the die hard useless craven beggars at a time is too late. The town is destroyed Everywhere I go people say they will not be going back to Yarmouth on holiday or for a day trip because they were disgusted by what they see once they step off the seafront.And Yarmouth council tax payers have to live with it-unless they live in the pandered to areas of Lowmouth-Gorleston etc or unless they live in the Flegg villages and cut their losses and never go near the town they pay to keep. It is likely that the only people happy with GYBC are the newly arrived occupants of social housing and rental accommodation paid for with housing benefits who are not contributing much if anything via council tax anyway.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • How can you justify the closing of public toilets? Seriously there are other ways in which to save money. How about the leader of the council and all other council members take a pay cut instead? That would save the £1.5 million they're looking to save next year.

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    nobbly1

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • cut the high paid councillors wages to save money but I suppose they wont do that know

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    fordy

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • cut the high paid councillors wages to save money but I suppose they wont do that know

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    fordy

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • They cannot close the public toilets,there are just enough of them.The council could save a lot of money to help out by taking a pay but,but I can't see that ever happening.

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    Maureen

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • They cannot close the public toilets,there are just enough of them.The council could save a lot of money to help out by taking a pay but,but I can't see that ever happening.

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    Maureen

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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