Longridge leaps into action in face of cuts

Photo Ian Robinson'County Hall at Night
Photo Ian Robinson'County Hall at Night

A Strategy Group is to be set up by Longridge Town Council to ensure the role for its area following the stringent cuts by Lancashire County Council.

It will include local people who could contribute to future decisions, plus consultations with the public and lead to a presentation of results at the annual town meeting in June.

Rather than wringing our hands or sitting on them, the answers to problems we could face might be in our hands

Coun Steve Ashcroft

This major move was decided after councillors heard Coun Steve Ashcroft’s reassessment of the role of the town council compiled by him and Councillors Rosemary Beacham and Greg Priest.

Together with deputy mayor Coun Rupert Swarbrick, they will be the council team for the Strategy Group.

It was felt that, with town and parish councils’ operational changes due to the government’s austerity policies, the town council should use its powers to adopt a more proactive approach to identifying and resolving issues affecting the town.

An increase in its precept was overdue, Coun Swarbrick said, after hearing that some parishes were looking at funding their own buses after the cuts and others were also setting aside funding to support their libraries.

After deciding to set up the working group, councillors also agreed to examine the current year’s income and expenditure statement, including the level of reserves, to establish how much could be achieved within present resources.

Coun Ashcroft told the meeting: “Rather than wringing our hands or sitting on them, the answers to problems we could face might be in our hands.”

At the meeting, Coun Rainford announced that Coun Stuart Carefoot was standing down after representing Derby and Thornley Ward for the past seven years. In a statement this week he explained the reason was due to an unexpected health issue affecting a member of his family, the extent of which was still not clear. Coun Rainford expressed the council’s appreciation to Coun Carefoot for his continued good advice and being a much valued member of the council. Deputy mayor Coun Rupert Swarbrick added his respect for Coun Carefoot’s wisdom, his capacity to see a point and express himself lucidly on council matters.