Village debate call as council cuts hit home

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A village leader is challenging County Hall bosses to a debate over the scale of council cuts.

Derek Hudson, a member of Preesall Town Council, is angry rural communities have taken the brunt of the latest round of cuts – with libraries and youth services under threat.

Mr Hudson says should County Hall plans to close youth facilities be given the green light Over Wyre will be left without any young people’s centres.

And now he’s challenging council leader Jenny Mein and chief executive Jo Turton to a debate in the village.

“Every one of the children’s centres and young people’s centres in Over Wyre are on the council’s proposed closure list,” said Coun Hudson.

“The Preesall one in particular has become a hub for the whole area, it’s very well used.

“I want to ask why we’re being hit so hard, why we’re being left with nothing.

“They’ve already taken away the funding for our bus services.

“So I want to challenge Coun Mein and her chief executive to come out here and debate me, to explain their actions.”

Coun Hudson is particularly angry that some areas have escaped the worst of the spending blitz.

“You look at Preston and there’s only three things on the list.

“Why, to me it’s all party politics.

“There’s no room for that, it should stop.”

Lancashire County Council says it needs to save more than £200m annually by 2020 as a result of Government cuts and demand for existing services.

A spokesman said: “The aim of the property strategy is to ensure we have the buildings we need to provide good access to good services, but within a much reduced budget.

“In forming these proposals, a great deal of work has gone into considering factors such as the diverse needs of Lancashire’s communities, how accessible the buildings are in terms of location and design, and their condition and suitability to deliver services in the future.

“Following Thursday’s Cabinet meeting the intention is to hold a 12-week public consultation, starting on 18 May, to invite the public, other organisations, and staff to share their views and help shape the final proposals.”