Kelbrook council refuses extra costs

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Kelbrook and Sough Parish Council has refused to take on additional responsibilities from April, saying its sustainability will be threatened if it did so.

Councillors are unhappy that the transfer of responsibilities such as bus shelters and a play area could come in to force this year rather than next, as they understood from a meeting with Pendle Council bosses in November.

In a letter sent in January to Pendle Council’s Head of Central and Regeneration Services Dean Langton, it stated that councillors recognised its grant would be reduced by 50% for 2015/16 and to nothing in 2016/17 and had budgeted accordingly.

But the letter went on to say that “any further costs would jeopardise our continued ­sustainability” and that the council had “planned to conduct a public consultation over the summer of 2015” to identify residents wishes as it had “always endeavoured not to impose an additional precept”.

The letter continued that the council had resolved not to precept in 2015/16 as planned activities could be funded from reserves, further costs of £1,860 for maintenance of bus shelters and the play area from April, 2015 from a grant of only £1,084 “would severely strain” funding and the timescale for notification of the 2015/16 precept did not allow “any meaningful consultation” or the council to “fulfil our democratic responsibilities”.

Councillors were minded not to accept the additional responsibilities and costs and they voted to do just that at February’s meeting.

Coun. John Drury, Financial Officer at Kelbrook and Sough Parish Council, said: “We are definitely not taking on the bus shelters and play area from April.

“We did get a reply from Mr Langton. We didn’t get a specific answer on when these changes will happen, they could come in this April it could be in April, 2016. On the ramifications of not accepting them, he didn’t answer that.

“We will be consulting in the summer as planned. We want to know what people want us to do so we can cost it out. People might not want a parish council and folding is a possibility. The idea to precept will be one of about eight options.”