Great Yarmouth Borough Council shelves plan to cut village green cash
Villages near Great Yarmouth have been spared cuts to grants for services like grass cutting and maintaining bus shelters.
The move comes ahead of the budget setting process for the next financial year as the borough council faces huge pressure as its funding from central government is slashed.
In the last financial year the council gave £143,000 to 19 parishes to spend on services like burial grounds, beach cleaning, and bus shelters.
The council leader and leader of the Conservative group Graham Plant spoke in favour of maintaining the grants at the full council meeting, saying he believed the parishes provided a more efficient service for the price than a private contractor would.
He added: “The work being done by the parish councils is very good value for money. The work is being done by local people as regularly as needed.”
Labour group leader Trevor Wainwright said the borough council was having to make cuts to its own services, so it was only right that the parishes shoulder some of the burden.
He added: “We’re just asking the parish councils to take their share of the hit.”
Labour councillor Brian Walker agreed, adding: “This makes the financial challenge for the borough harder and harder.”
Conservative councillor Charles Reynolds said any cuts would amount to a ‘rural tax’.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council is one of the only local authorities in the country that still pays parish councils such a grant.
The biggest contribution was for parks and open spaces which made up nearly two thirds of the cost.
Last year councillors voted to scrap the borough council’s contribution to parish clerks’ salaries and also reduce the amount spent on grants for beach cleaning.
Council officers had recommended to councillors on the policy and resources committee to make further cuts this year, by axing the contributions towards beach cleaning and bus shelters.
Coupled with a 15pc cut to the grant for open spaces, this would have saved the council £32,497 a year.
However the committee voted to defer any decision until next year, a move backed by the full council.
A further review will now be carried out next year.