Lib Dems challenge town council budget

LIBERAL Democrat councillors in Eastwood challenged the ruling group’s budget proposals for the forthcoming year, saying more money should be spent on the community.

As Labour councillors presented their budget plans at an Eastwood Town Council meeting on Monday night, the opposition party argued more money needed to be spent on events in the town and facilities for the youth.

Lib Dem leader Cllr Bob Charlesworth said the council should be putting money aside to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee and renovate the memorial at the cottages site in Mansfield Road, while more money should be ploughed into after school activities, clubs and sports for kids.

Cllr Charlesworth said: “We want more money spent on the community of Eastwood and less money spent on admin.

“After school clubs, sports, anything like that keeps youngsters off the streets.”

But Labour leader David Bagshaw said his party ‘always strived to look after the community’.

“We are here to support the people of Eastwood and that’s my main mantra for this council,” he told the Advertiser.

“We always support groups in Eastwood and we will always support the youth.

“We didn’t use all the grant money from last year so if groups come up wanting money, particularly youth groups, it is there.”

Lib Dem’s Cllr Josie Forrest said the Queen’s Jubilee was a ‘special event’ that she felt the community would want to enjoy and wanted £500 set aside to accommodate it.

“I don’t think celebrations should be charged to the rate payer. It has been mooted that we might fund a Beacon for Eastwood and our party fully supports the idea,” she said.

The Lib Dems also suggested £2,000 to re-vamp the war memorial in Mansfield Road, and although the Labour party missed this out of its budget, councillors say they might go-ahead with the project if they can find financial help to put towards it.

The council is currently renting Chester House for office space, but Labour want to try and buy back the old office on Nottingham Road over the next few months.

Labour has put £250,000 in the budget for this, whereas the Lib Dems set money aside to continue renting.

But Cllr Bagshaw said the Lib Dems were not looking to the future.

“We have got to take into account our need to relocate to new premises,” he said. “We cannot stagnate and rent premises forever,” he said.

Following a vote, the Labour budget was carried.