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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Gesture would save threatened buildings

SIR – A few days ago, a Copeland resident asked me what was happening alongside the multi-storey car park in Whitehaven – I mentioned Albion Square and was then asked ‘What’s that then?’

It turned out that my acquaintance does not read the Whitehaven News and was therefore somewhat behind in local news. The penny finally dropped with me – with the absence of any response from a serving Copeland councillor about my suggested halving of their allowances and expenses, they don’t read the Whitehaven News either. As previously mentioned, something in the region of £125,000 to £150,000 + annually could be ‘saved’ if such allowances and expenses were halved and perhaps –just perhaps – the Tourist Information Centre could be kept operational, given its annual cost of £61,000. Not only that – but Copeland public toilets could remain open – their annual cost is given as £41,000. That would still leaves a healthy credit balance to be put elsewhere from halving of councillor allowances and expenses. Imagine what could be saved if county councillor allowances and expenses were half their current very generous rate.

On the expense side, is not Copeland BC car mileage payment of around £26 a gallon (approx £5.70 a litre) a touch excessive given Copeland’s and the nation’s financial position.

Due to many councillors apparently not reading the Whitehaven News could I suggest we all ask our favourite councillor, when next seen, what they feel about halving their allowances and expenses – given that we are all in this together – and as volunteers serving the community looking after their constituents interests – should they not lead the way? Think of the acclaim – nationwide – for such a move – what a coup for Copeland – I can almost see the letter from No.10 now, inviting such great men and women who put their community before personal financial gain. The world’s TV cameras recording every handshake and thanks from national leaders – who will be moved to follow the Copeland B.C. example.

Just think of what could be if Copeland was to announce a voluntary halving by councillors of their cash take from the public purse! Buck House beckons.

Rob ROMANO

Ash Grove, Whitehaven

SIR – BBC Regional news covered the possible closure of many Whitehaven facilities by the district council; but what is the reaction?

Surely, the obvious answer is for a Town Council/community to run their own community, facilities; to meet their own needs.

They are surely capable of running the Civic Hall, toilets, library, market etc., and other community provision.

A town council can raise a rate, to serve local needs, aspirations and what is done voluntary not only involves the community but saves costs.

For those who would complain about a rate, parish/town councils are the most efficient and lowest spenders; districts/county councils are the opposite; officers, and councilors expenses, prestige, image.

So will Whitehaven and other communities rise to the challenge?

In Boston Lincolnshire, the district council said they could not afford Christmas lights. Thanks to community involvement, led by one person, they not only now have Christmas lights but a three-day market, parade and other events; involving the community. Can Whitehaven do the same; or even better?

D TAYLOR-SMITH Portugal

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