Cuts threaten town’s services

Brixham Museum, Churston Library and Brixham’s two subsidised bus services could be hit by the latest round of cuts being proposed by cash strapped Torbay Council.

The authority has already slashed £10m but now faces cutting a further £3.8 million.

Among the proposals is the possible closure of Churston Library which would save £105,000; handing it to the community to run or redeveloping the site. Brixham Museum faces losing £20,000 from its grant, in addition to £20,000 agreed earlier this year.

Two subsidised bus services in Brixham are also among the draft cuts. The 17/22E service from Brixham town centre is operated by Stagecoach but subsidised on a 50/50 basis by Torbay Council and Devon County Council, as is the 22  Brixham to Kingswear service. Cutting the subsidy would save Torbay Council £19,00 for route 17/22E and £3,000 for the 22 service.

Brixham Connections office which deals with benefits and other enquiries, could also close. And Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust which looks after Berry Head Nature Reserve is looking at long £50,000 over the next two years.

Further savings have to be found after the government told Torbay Council it had to cut a further £3.8m. In 2016 to 2017, it could expect to cut another £10m.

Mayor Gordon Oliver said: ‘If I had a choice, we would’t be making these reductions at all. Difficult choices have to made and I would like to stress these are draft proposals, no final decisions have been made. That is why it is so important to engage with as many residents and local organisations as possible and hear their views.

‘We are not underestimating the challenge we face. Our priority is to protect frontline services as much as possible. We need to achieve a balance between the statutory services we are required by law to provide and those that residents value the most.There are no easy answers in this budget and it will continue to be a challenging and painful process.’

Torbay Council is looking for feedback on the proposals which can be made online through www.torbay.gov.uk/consultation. Paper copies are available at all Torbay libraries and in Connections offices and the deadline for them to be returned is Friday 29th August.

Additional discussions will be held with partner organisations directly affected by specific service change proposals.

 Story by Ellen Grindley, Brixham News. Reproduced by kind permission of author/publisher.