Council leader denies warning that Fenland could be split four ways to save money

Councillor John Clark

Councillor John Clark - Credit: Archant

The four towns of Fenland may have to be split into four different authorities if cuts bite deeper in local government, the leader of Fenland District Council warned.

In the minutes of a meeting of March Town Council, Councillor John Clark said consideration may have to be given to dissolving Fenland District Council and moving the towns to four different local authorities.

But Cllr Clark denied saying that and instead said: “I said that local councils are likely to have to rethink how they work to deliver services in tough economic times.

“Reading between the lines it seems that councils will be encouraged to change their way of working and merge through sharing services.

“As a council we are looking at every way we can continue to deliver our services in the best way in the current economic climate,” he said.

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Fenland District Council had its budget slashed by £8 million and Cambridgeshire County Council by £30million leading to cutbacks in both services and staff. Cllr Clark said: “David Cameron was recently on the BBC Andrew Marr show where he said that in his local area five council’s joined together to save costs.

“He could see that other council’s would benefit from such an approach. If Conservative are voted in again then it is likely that this is the way things will go for local government.”

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Cllr Clark told members of March Town Council that there had already been joined up working locally with the Community Hubs in Chatteris and Whittlesey.

There has also been a merger in building control through Fenland joining with building control in West Norfolk in shared offices at the Boathouse in Wisbech.

But town clerk Clive Lemmon said in the minutes that Cllr Clark said: “After May 2015 any future leader may have to give consideration to the dissolving of FDC in which case the four market towns could easily go to four different authorities.

“There is nothing certain in any of this.”

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