Council seeks help to keep costs down

Latest news from the Newmarket Journal,, @nktjournal on Twitter
Latest news from the Newmarket Journal,, @nktjournal on Twitter

A council is urging residents to do more to help themselves and their communities in a bid to keep costs down.

Members of Forest Heath District Council’s cabinet will meet next week to recommend freezing the authority’s portion of the council tax demand for the sixth successive year.

But cabinet member for resources Cllr Stephen Edwards warned at a briefing on Monday that with the government grant to the council having been almost halved over the past two years, the authority could not afford to be complacent .

“Funding changes mean we have to change the way we do things and make ourselves less reliant on government money,” he said.

“Councils can no longer do everything for people and here in West Suffolk we are leading the way by doing things with people, not for them or to them,” he said.

“We have a families and communities agenda under which we will support people to help themselves, be more self-reliant and less dependent on council services.”

He said while the council would continue to invest in front-line services it would also be focussing on “building community resilience and self reliance.”

Residents with ideas for projects were advised to contact the council where officers would help them apply for any appropriate grants and 
funding that might be available .

The council is being forced to make £1.1 million of savings in the next financial year with the largest chunk, £278,000, set to come through sharing more services with its neighbour St Edmundsbury under the West Suffolk banner.

The council is also looking to generate cash with projects such as the building of 10 new industrial units at Sam Alper Court in Newmarket for which it has already identified a strong demand and which it will lease out .

Council leader Cllr James Waters said: “We’re squeezing every penny we can and always looking to secure a stronger future for Forest Heath but everyone has a part to play.”