North Tyneside : Buildings could close and services for under fives reviewed as part of £40m budget cuts

Council owned buildings could close and managers salaries worth £2m axed as an authority attempts to cut £40m over the next three years.

Children’s creches will only be targeted at those most in need and nursery provision will be up for review as part of proposals agreed by North Tyneside Council.

However money has been set aside to contribute towards the £1m redevelopment of St Mary’s Island to refurbish the lighthouse and cottage as part of a council wish-list of future capital projects.

At a meeting of North Tyneside Council’s Cabinet a draft budget plan was presented – the Creating a Brighter Future programme.

The council hopes to save £1.2m by reviewing its services for under fives, £1m is also proposed to be pulled from their early intervention health budget, while they envisage a further £3m could be saved by creating better links with the NHS.

Around £600,000 is also hoped to be saved by bringing staff together to work in shared offices and shutting down buildings when they are no longer needed.

Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn, said the budget proposals for 2015 to 2018 were designed to ensure children are prepared for school and teenagers prepared for work.

She said:

“The challenges we face as a local authority are huge and I have listened very carefully to residents who have told us what their priorities are, so we target resources where needed and made sure that we make every pound count when we spend it.”

The council has to deliver between £40m and £46m of savings over the next three years, with £14.245m of that required in 2015/16. This is on top of the £28.79m of savings it has delivered over the last two years.

However they also have a list of proposed capital projects planned over the next three years which cabinet members were asked to agree to on Monday night.

They include a further £2m allocated to regeneration in Whitley Bay, which has come from another source, and putting in £1.22m to a £14.9m pot to redevelop land at the former Swan Hunter shipyard.

Councillor Redfearn said:

“We will also deliver a multi-million pound investment programme to regenerate key areas across the borough – Whitley Bay’s Spanish City Dome and seafront, the former Swan Hunter site in Wallsend, 3,000 new affordable homes in the next ten years and the North Tyneside Living scheme to provide top quality new sheltered homes for 900 of our older residents.”

Residents can provide their feedback on the new budget proposals from early December by going to the Council’s website at http://www.northtyneside.gov.uk .

The consultation will be open until the end of January.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle,  27 Nov 2014

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