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Lostwithiel to see 18% council tax increase
10th February 2017
By Oscar Morse
LOSTWITHIEL Town Council has imposed an 18 per cent precept hike on residents.
From April, the council will receive £150,000 from local householders, compared with £129,000 for the current financial year.
Councillors say the extra cash is needed to pay for essential services, including managing a public toilet block and potentially, running a post office and library.
The town’s post office closed at the end of December and councillors believe the library is likely to be on a Cornwall Council hit list as it tries to save cash by shutting small branch libraries.
Mayor Ian Gillett said his council was looking into taking over both services, and that would mean residents having to pick up the tab.
“We ran a questionnaire late last year asking people how much they would be prepared to pay if the town council took over the library service in Taprell House.
“The feedback showed they wanted it retained, and were prepared to see their precept rise to pay for it. Cornwall Council says it will cost £30,000 per year to run, but we feel we can do it for possibly £20,000.
“If County Hall offers us the library, we need to have the running costs in place, so we’ve set aside money in the budget to that end.
Mr Gillett said operating a post office would be more complicated for his council, but the budget included money for pay for the equipment required.
8th February 2017
Community Centre to re-open
By Oscar Morse
LOSTWITHIEL Community Centre will re-open next month after structural damage forced its closure last year.
The second-Sunday antiques fair will be making a return in March, and independently-run craft fairs on every first Sunday begin in April.
Problems with obtaining public liability insurance caused by a dangerous wall forced its closure last July and seven full and part-time staff were made redundant, with no income to pay their wages.
Repairs to the wall have now been undertaken, and the Lostwithiel Community Association (LCA) which runs the centre, is advertising for a manager to take on day-today responsibility for the building.
Chair Angeline Edney said trustees had been encouraged by the support in the town for the centre, and hoped volunteers would come forward to help run it.
“There is an undercurrent of support for this community resource, and it suggests that there are people who would sign up as members of the association,
who would like to see the centre flourish again and who would be prepared to volunteer their time and energy.
“One problem is that people who aren’t involved often don’t fully understand that it’s not just a matter of rolling up the shutter, switching on the lights, and displaying the ‘Open’ sign. Bureaucracy and common sense direct that we have to undertake some background work before that sign can be displayed, health and safety compliances, for example. Inspections and certificates are costly, and the money to pay for them is hard to come by while bookings have been interrupted. There is a need for tidying, cleaning, re-organising and sorting, and we need to make sure systems are devised so that the building can be operated with few staff.’’
Ms Edney added that the long term ambition of the trustees was to obtain substantial grant aid to build a brand new community centre for the town.
8th February 2017
Lostwithiel "risking parking restrictions"
By Oscar Morse
PARKING restrictions could be introduced in Lostwithiel after claims that residents were abusing the town’s free parking concessions.
The town council was told this week that spaces at car parks at the Cattle Market and Quay Street were always full, partly caused by local people leaving their vehicles there for months on end, some seemingly abandoned.
Lostwithiel prides itself on offering free parking in the town aimed at attracting more visitors to shop.
But councillors say now there is scant room for visitors to park, and action is needed.
Councillor Robert Peareth told colleagues: “Cars are left there for weeks and months, and we need to come up with a plan to do something about it. I suggest we look at introducing a parking order so that no car are allowed to park for more than 12 hours.’’
Councillor Vic May, the council’s portfolio holder for car parks, felt introducing pay and display ticket machines was the only answer to the problem, but that has so far been resisted by the council.
On-street parking is at a premium in Lostwithiel, forcing some residents with no alternative but to leave their vehicles in the two designated car parks.
Mr May said: “The Cattle Market car park is full at 9am before the shops are even open. Everyone is taking advantage of the free parking, and I say pay and display is needed.’’
The council decided to investigate introducing a parking order through negotiations with Cornwall Council, which owns the Cattle Market land and leases it to the local council.