Cuts protest held in Eye

TO the casual passer-by it may have appeared like a bit of light hearted fun – but protests in one Suffolk town had a very serious message.

Around 100 people turned out in Eye on Saturday to express their concern over the impact of council cutbacks on the community.

Town leaders and residents held a day of demonstrations to highlight the damage that could be caused by closing library, youth, and elderly services.

Under the banner of 'Eye Don't Believe It' organisers unveiled a mock-up mobile library, pavement youth club and care home outside the town hall.

There was also the ceremonial unveiling of the new town toilet - a canvas unit borrowed from the Scouts - and the local bus was welcomed by a fanfare.

The event, which was organised to show that 'Eye can see the funny side' of its situation, also raised �100 for Comic Relief.

The town is at risk of losing its library, Paddock House care home, and youth club, which are all run by Suffolk County Council.

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A Customer Service Direct walk-in centre will shut at the end of the month and the nearby household recycling centre at Brome is also set for the axe.

Mid Suffolk District Council is also proposing to close the public toilets in the Cross Street car park.

Local groups and organisations are being asked to take on services that the councils no longer wish to run as they look to save money.

Town councillor Merlin Carr, who organised the event, said there was now a real determination in the town to take a positive step forward.

'The day went very well,' he said. 'We managed to get the point across that although things may seem bad there's a genuine willingness of people to get stuck in and try and do the best for the town.

'The fact that so many people came along is very encouraging. Lots of people had a chance to talk about the situation and suggest ideas about what we can actually do.

'It would be a huge loss if the services went – not just for Eye but for people in the surrounding villages as well.

'When we learnt about all these cuts the initial reaction was that it was the end of the world and Eye would become a ghost town.

'However momentum is growing and I think the message coming out of the day is very positive – it showed that we want to move forward and see what we can do.'