Budget outcome is ‘best Kenilworth could have hoped for’

Warwickshire County Council
Warwickshire County Council

Kenilworth has been spared major biting cuts in the county council’s budget as the town’s library, fire station and children’s centres all stay safe.

Warwickshire County Council has announced its final budget as it works to save £92million over the next four years.

After nine hours of debates, councillors agreed on what has been described as the most difficult budget in 125 years of the authority’s history.

The future of the town’s children’s centres in Bertie Road and St John’s were 
major worries for residents.

But despite having to work more closely together in changed administration in already agreed cuts, the services were spared major cuts.

Cllr Alan Cockburn (Con, St John’s) hailed the talks as a success with Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups both able to secure “95 percent” of their own proposals.

As well as £1.2million for flood alleviation, he explained that the council has also promised no changes to Kenilworth’s library or its fire service in what were major worries across the county.

Cllr Cockburn said: “Our children’s centres will be undergoing changes because of the ongoing need for support, but they will not be closing.

“And Kenilworth Library is one of the best used in Warwickshire so unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon.

“We are on a journey between now and 2017 that will cut the council by a third and things will have to change, there is no way around it.

“But for now I don’t think there will be any big differences in Kenilworth specifically.

“This is a good deal for the whole of Warwickshire in that it is the best outcome we could have hoped for.”

But the deputy leader of the council warned that things are set to get harder in the years to come as more cuts are needed.

The authority is set to lose 600 staff across its services which could include up to 75 firefighters -leading to fear for the town’s emergency service.

Cllr John Whitehouse (Lib Dem, Abbey) hailed the final budget as ‘the best they could hope for’ and praised moves including securing money for safer school crossings which could go a long way in helping sites such as St Nicholas School, where children currently rely heavily on lollipop ladies each day.

“You cant get away from the fact there are massive cuts here, but we are pleased with a compromise budget,” he said.

“We have spared cuts to the library service which is very pleasing indeed for the town.”