Staff at Cumbria County Council are bracing themselves for more job losses as the authority plans to cut spending by an extra £22 million.Read the full story ›
Staff at Cumbria County Council have been invited to apply for voluntary redundancy.
The Council needs to make savings of £83 million over the next three years, and expects to cut around 1,800 jobs because of that.
A four-week window for staff to apply for redundancy opened on Monday 11 May.
Ownership of Wigton swimming pool has been handed to a community trust, by Cumbria County Council.
But if they want to keep it open, they'll need to find around £60,000 every year.
Greg Hoare went to find out more.
Wigton's community swimming pool has been saved from closure.
The Wigton Baths Trust was granted ownership of the town's pool by Cumbria County Council on 23 March, and it'll officially run the pool from 31 March.
The council said financial cutbacks meant it couldn't afford to keep it open, and it was due to be closed.
But Alan Pitcher, Chair of the Trust, is confident they've got the financial power to keep it going:
Cumbria's main roads are improving, and fewer need maintenance, according to the Department for Transport... but its rural roads are in greater need of repair than before.
A survey of road conditions, carried out as part of a national monitoring programme, found:
- Principal A class roads in need of repair has fallen from 6% to 5% between 2011/12 and 2013/14
- Non-principal roads (B and C class roads) in need of maintenance has also gone down, from 17% to 14%, over the same period
- Sight rise for unclassified, minor rural roads needing maintenance, which rose from 15% to 17%
“Maintaining and improving our roads is one of the council’s key priorities and the DfT figures show there has been a small, but steady improvement in the condition of our busiest roads over recent years.
"This reflects the improvements we’ve made to the highways maintenance service in recent years, including investment in plant and machinery and co-ordinating our work more consistently.
"I appreciate that our roads are far from perfect, particularly at this time of year before the spring and summer maintenance programme has stepped up.
But our highways teams are working hard to make the most of increasingly limited resources and these figures show they are making a real difference.”
The council estimates that around £250 million more is required to bring the county’s highways network up to a good or reasonable standard.
Demolition work has begun on the site of the new Cumbria County Council building.
The work on Bothchergate started at the weekend, with the new offices expected to open in spring next year.
Cumbria County Council is starting work on a major £2.3m road improvements scheme in Penrith.
It hopes the project will improve access to the Gilwilly Industrial Estate and Eden Business Park, and that this will open up the town for future business growth and potential new jobs.
The first phase will involve putting in an extra lane on the A592 Ullswater Road roundabout for southbound traffic and a revised layout for traffic exiting southbound from Haweswater Road.
Penrith library has teamed up with a local business owner to offer an innovative temporary solution to a problem with its lift.
Disabled library users or families with pushchairs faced access problems as the lift to the first-floor library is temporarily out of action. So the Soup Shop opposite the library entrance in the Devonshire Arcade has steamed in with a solution, offering a temporary service from its café.
A selection of books will be offered in the Soup Shop from today (Friday 27 February) and library staff will be on hand to register new customers or fetch items on request. Penrith library will be open for business as usual for people using the stairs.
“This is a great example of how we work with people in the local area to find solutions. We are very grateful to Soup Shop owner Paul Forsyth for his help in ensuring everyone can still have access to the books they love and need. I hope people take the opportunity to enjoy a snack while they peruse our products too.”
Cumbria County Council is urging the Government to address "years of underfunding" in Cumbria’s rail network.
Tenders will go out later this month to run the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises from February 2016.
The council's calls for an improved service in the new franchises include:
- greater frequency and capacity of passenger services on the Cumbrian Coast Line
- an increase in the number of direct services to Manchester International Airport from Barrow, Windermere and from the Anglo-Scottish route
- Increase in the frequency of trains on the Tyne Valley Line between Carlisle and Newcastle so that there is a half hourly service
The council has criticised the current franchise, saying that it is 'not fit for purpose' in some areas.
“We are on the cusp of seeing what exactly we’re going to get in our rail services for the next decade. We have been lobbying hard for improvements and telling Government we need to see ambition, incentives for growth and flexibility in those tenders.
"The last franchises awarded in 2004, locked us into a poor quality service which did nothing to encourage investment and could not cope with the growth in passenger numbers. The result is a rail network which in some areas is not fit for purpose compared with other networks across the country,”
A draft budget that would save more than £30 million will go before councillors today.
Cumbria County Council's Cabinet is being asked to consider approving £326 million worth of cuts to its budget for 2015/2016.
The Cabinet's recommendations will be presented for final approval to the Full Council on 19 February.