April 20 2014 Latest news:
Friday, January 18, 2013
LONG gone are the days when our council would stump up the cash to build a leisure centre.
WITH the weather turning more January-like, Mrs C has been hoping to use her Christmas present.
Did I buy her thermal undies, a new coat, gloves and hat, or a golf umbrella?
No – she had a sledge.
Unlike myself, who absolutely hates the stuff and just likes to see it on a Christmas card, she absolutely loves snow.
So, if you see a woman clutching a sparkling new sledge shoving the kids out of the way, elbowing her way to the front, and hurtling down Bent Hill and screaming in delight, you’ll know who it is.
It will never do such a thing again. It is struggling to find the cash to even pay for the things many of us feel are important and worth keeping for our town – gardens, footway lights, decorative seafront lighting, the Spa Pavilion.
What will be next?
Perhaps our leisure centres will have to go. After all, if the council cannot afford to run the theatre, why should it pay a subsidy for swimmers?
At the moment it costs more than £800,000 a year to run the leisure centres at Leiston and Felixstowe, Brackenbury Sports Centre and Deben Pools. The council argued that theatre goers were being subsidised heavily, but so are those who exercise.
I have never used the leisure centre and never would (not being a swimmer, bowls player, or gym user) but frequently used the Spa Pavilion – exercising my mind instead of my body! – and now that is denied me, though I still pay for the leisure centres in my council tax.
In the end, it all comes down to money.
People continually want “the council” (there is continuing confusion over which is responsible for what) to do more but now councils don’t have the money and are being discouraged by government from increasing their spending. Don’t expect any new facilities.
If Suffolk Coastal was not so dedicated to keeping its tax low, then its budget could have risen gradually over the years, ensuring the money needed for the Spa and other services was available.
Most voters though are probably delighted Suffolk Coastal is a prudent authority and keeps a lid on its spending.
Times are tough, and even if they weren’t, many people would not want to pay any more than they have to for council services.
The raising of chalet rents by 20pc and beach hut rents by 12pc to raise extra cash for the council to help keep its tax low and carry on paying for other services we enjoy will not excite the majority.
In fact, most may think those who can afford such pleasures should pay for them.
We get the services we pay for – not those we might like. And as we are not paying as much as people elsewhere, we can expect to lose quite a few facilities in the years to come.