New budget proposals for libraries, parking, youth services and Queen’s Theatre

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Following three months of public consultation, councillors are set to consider revisions to Havering Council’s budget proposals, published last September. If agreed, the changes would see longer opening hours for Upminster Library than had been proposed; lower charges for parking in parks; a potential new way of providing youth services and a new timetable for the reduction in subsidy to the Queen’s Theatre.

At the last Cabinet meeting, after consideration of the public feedback, Councillors were keen to explore revised proposals for some of the areas that generated the most public concern. These new proposals will now be considered at a special Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 4 February and then by Overview & Scrutiny on Wednesday 5 February.

The main revisions are:

Libraries:

Upminster Library (together with Hornchurch, Romford, Rainham, & Harold Hill) to be open 50 hours a week – with the other libraries opening for a minimum of 24 hours per week.Use of Computers in libraries to remain free, with the proposed charges replaced by increased fines for late returns.Protection for the summer reading challenge with an extra staff postA staff post to remain in the Local Studies & Family History Centre

Youth Service:

To support the setting up of a Youth Trust (employee-led mutual) to provide targeted youth services.To explore a partnership arrangement with the YMCA.These proposals to be subject to a full consultation later in the year

Parking in parks:

Revised tariffs for car parking in parks:20p for up to three hours and 50p for up to five hours, Monday to Friday 8am – 6.30pm.Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays – free to park.Free at all times for registered disabled usersSome smaller parks where parking facilities are not viable would be exempt

Queen’s Theatre:

The £200,000 reduction in the Council’s subsidy for Queen’s Theatre will be staggered over three years, rather that two.

Councillor Roger Ramsey, Leader of Havering Council, said:

“The revised proposals keep Upminster library – our third busiest – open for longer each week; they will allow for a stronger youth service in the future, keeping young people safe and off the streets; they will ensure that parking in parks is affordable during the week and free at weekends and they will phase the cut in subsidy to the Queen’s Theatre over a longer period to make it easier for the Theatre to adjust.

“The main priorities of local people remain the cleanliness and safety of the Borough and our budget proposals already support those aims. Where residents highlighted other issues, we’ve looked again to see what can be done. We’re facing very large cuts in our funding, so we’re only able to make fairly modest changes to our proposals, but we’ve tried to address some of our residents’ most pressing concerns.”

For a full list of the revised proposals visit:www.havering.gov.uk The Cabinet meeting will also be broadcast live on 4 February through Havering’s webcast facility. 

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