Budget scrutiny: Plea to save bowls clubs made by city councillors

The council chamber at Peterborough Town Hall
The council chamber at Peterborough Town Hall
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The protection of bowls clubs was recommended by opposition Peterborough City Councillors who also expressed fears that £25million of savings could not be made.

Scrutiny of Peterborough City Council’s budget led to recommendations on changes to spending plans for the ruling cabinet to consider.

The cabinet will now go away and discuss the recommendations made as part of their consultation into removing the huge deficit, of which much is due to a reduction in government funding.

The most passionate pleas came from councillors over planned closures for four of the city’s seven bowling greens.

Conservative Cllr John Peach expressed “genuine concern” about bowling greens which are “used for relaxation and to keep fit.”

Cllr John Okonkowski said he had played bowls for over 20 years.

“This is an outdoor sport for pensioners who probably live on their own and can play every day.

“What’s going to be left at the end of the day for people? I’m disgusted actually.”

Cllr John Fox added that lots of disabled people in Werrington use the bowls club.

A recommendation was passed to find money for bowls clubs and tennis courts - which are also planned to be shut - with a reduction in grass cuttings one of the suggested ways in which this could be done.

A saving of £36,000 had been budgeted for these closures.

Currently there are bowling greens at: Bushfield in Orton, Central Park (two), East Community Centre, Itter Park, Ringwood in Bretton, Stanground and Werrington.

Opening up the meeting yesterday evening (December 3) Cllr David Seaton, cabinet member for resources, told councillors: “We will continue to have challenging times.”

Discussing the budget for adult social care, which faces £7 million worth of savings, portfolio holder Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald said: “There will be more emphasis on community-based care. We will promote opportunities for independence.”

He added that paid officers had come up with the figures and that they were achievable.

Concerns were raised by Cllr Nick Sandford, who felt the figures were speculative, and Cllr Richard Ferris, who said he was “quite alarmed” by them.

Proposals to increase parking charges at three council car parks - a 10 per cent increase in Bishop’s Road and Riverside car parks, and 12 per cent in the Car Haven Car Park - also drew a mixed response.

Cllr Bella Saltmarsh asked: “Surely we want to encourage people to come in?”

Cllr David Harrington added that people would instead go elsewhere to do their shopping.

A recommendation to defer a consultation on blue badge parking charges to the second wave of budget proposals was passed.

A meeting of the full council will consider the phase one budget proposals on Wednesday, 17 December - see agenda at democracy.peterborough.gov.uk.

Phase Two proposals, which will be revealed in the new year, will be discussed on 4 March.