Car parking tops the agenda at Attleborough meeting

Car parking dominated the latest round of talks on which services Breckland Council should cut to fill a �3m funding black hole.

Residents in Attleborough discussed plans to introduce charging in the council's car parks during the third of the five consultations organised by Breckland councillors and officers in the five market towns across the district.

The council has provided three options for parking, which include the introduction of hourly fees so the car parks self-fund the annual �300,000 cost of running them, introducing parking fees with the first hour or possibly two free of charge, which could realise �150,000, or continuing to provide free parking.

Other concerns raised at Monday's Could We? Should We? meeting at Attleborough Town Hall included whether the council would be receiving any return on its �12m investment in Icelandic banks, which collapsed in October 2008, the level of councillors' expenses, changing the production of the council's magazine and the potential for reducing costs by linking with other public services.

Residents in Thetford and Dereham have already been consulted and the next stops in the process will be Swaffham and Watton.

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At the end of the meeting, residents were able to vote on options for services to cut, including CCTV, which costs the council �254,000 annually, community development support, which costs �95,000 annually, pest control, which costs �30,000, and the council magazine Breckland Voice, which costs �57,000 annually.

The council's chief executive Terry Huggins has warned that the council's government grant had been slashed by 25pc, meaning the council needed to make �2.7m cuts by 2016-17.

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