Reprieve for bowls clubs as city council hold back budget decision

Outside the Council chamber at Peterborough Town Hall on Bridge Street. Photo: Paul Franks/Peterborough Telegraph

Outside the Council chamber at Peterborough Town Hall on Bridge Street. Photo: Paul Franks/Peterborough Telegraph

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Budget update, Monday, 12.55pm: A decision to shut bowls clubs in Peterborough will be looked at again after a huge response from concerned players at a city council cabinet meeting.

Four of the city’s seven clubs were due to be shut as part of Peterborough City Council’s budget proposals as they look to save close to £25 million.

That decision will now be held back until early next year when the council reveals its second wave of savings.

The first wave of savings, which aims to trim £16.8m from the budget, was agreed by the council’s cabinet today (15 December) and will be sent to full council on Wednesday to be approved.

However, the cuts will not include bowls clubs after big opposition to the proposals.

Councillor Peter Hiller said: “I have been lobbied extensively on bowling greens.”

Cllr Hiller asked Cllr Gavin Elsey, cabinet member for street scene, waste management and communications, whether a decision on bowling greens could be deferred until the second wave of proposals in the new year.

The deferral was proposed by Cllr Elsey and agreed by the cabinet who will also delay a decision on cuts to shruberry.

A saving of £36,000 had been budgeted for closures to the four bowls clubs and 11 tennis courts.

Cllr David Seaton told the meeting that he felt the budget proposals strike a fair balance.

He said: “It is clear from consultation sessions that people understand the tough challenge we have.

“We are absolutely committeed to provide a bright future for our city.”

Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald added: “It has been suggested in many quarters the council’s financial difficulties are due to mismanagement. I find that amazing.”

In response, Cllr Seaton said: “Our financial management of the council is strong. Our auditors say that. Every year we have delivered efficiency savings.”

The cabinet also approved plans to instal solar panels on the roofs of Peterborough houses. Read more about the solar panel plans.

Cllr Nigel North said: “It’s a fantastic scheme. We have a lot of people in fuel poverty.”

Council leader Cllr Marco Cereste commended officers for drawing up the plans and said it could save residents up to £700 a year.

A decision to open a tender on running day opportunities for adults under the age of 65 was agreed as well at the meeting.

Cllr Fitzgerald said: “We have no intention of closing any day centres.”