ANGRY councillors have hit out over the threat to community assets.
Earlier this month the Leader revealed how the future of playgroups, play areas, community centres, bowling greens and even school crossing patrols could be axed unless the running costs are taken up by community councils.
A letter from Lawrence Isted, Wrexham Council’s head of community, well being and development gave an ultimatum to all but six of the 34 community councils in the county to take on the running costs of some facilities – or risk losing them.
Following the letter Acton Community Council requested a face-to-face meeting to quiz him on the plans, which took place last week.
At the meeting Cllr Joyce Dudley said the community council would need to find an extra £32,000 on top of the present funding, which would mean an extra £5 levy on each ratepayer.
Acton county councillor Geoff Lowe said he was disgusted that the authority was looking at the future of school crossing patrols.
“You are putting children’s lives at risk and that is not on,” he said. “Four hundred children cross busy Box Lane every school day.”
He added that he was appalled as the cost should be in the authority’s environment or education budget, not those of community councils.
Former leader of Wrexham Council Ron Davies, who sits on the community council, asked why the plans had been dropped on communities so late in the year. He said Acton already funds a number of services .
He said the issue should have been discussed sooner with a decision due by October 18 – describing it as ‘taxing by stealth’.
In response, Mr Isted said he had sent letters about community centres over the past two years and that the authority faced £34m cuts, hence the need for ‘a root and branch cut’ to services.
He said the authority believes community councillors are the right people to look at the cuts because they know the area.
He added: “The difficulty is that the services are important but some are more important than others, and the community council has got to rationalise services to what is really important and what may be cut.”
Little Acton county councillor Bill Baldwin agreed the crossing patrols costs should not be in the community budget.
He said he was already working on the future of Little Acton Community Centre.
Maesydre county councillor Carole O’Toole described the proposed cuts as “impracticable” and said the community was being pressurised.
It was moved that the community council examine every aspect of its budget before deciding this week what savings will be made.