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Small business rate relief warning issued

Credit: South Lakeland District Council

The owners of around 1,500 small businesses are being warned to act fast or face a surprise bill.

South Lakeland District Council has written to those currently receiving small business rate relief saying they must reapply for 2017/18 or risk missing out.

Last month the council sent letters to around 4,500 small business owners informing them of a review and enclosing an application form.

The council says while around 70 per cent of businesses responded quickly - and have already reapplied for small business rate relief - around 1,500 still have not returned their application forms and will now receive a polite reminder.

“The review is to ensure that those who receive small business rate relief are entitled to it. We have no choice but to ask every business owner who currently receives it to reapply so that we can be absolutely sure they meet the criteria.”

"Businesses need to act swiftly. Those who have not reapplied will not have the business rate relief on their bills from 1 April which are due to begin arriving this week.

“Some of these bills could come as a big surprise, particularly for businesses which haven’t been paying any business rates for a number of years. However, I’d like to reassure small business owners that they still have time to reapply and those who remain entitled to it will continue to receive this important financial assistance. We want businesses to receive this relief and if they have any questions our officers will be ready to give help and advice.”

– Cllr Peter Thornton, SLDC Leader

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Free dog microchipping in South Lakeland

Credit: ITV Border

Dog owners can get their pets microchipped for free at events this summer thanks to South Lakeland District Council and the Dogs Trust.

The council and charity have teamed up to offer microchipping at four agricultural shows across the district.

South Lakeland District Council say anyone who owns a dog that has not been chipped can attend any of the events – it would normally cost £15-30 to get it done by a vet.

Chipping is available at:

  • 27 July – North Lonsdale Show
  • 3 August – Cartmel Show
  • 9 August – Lunesdale Show
  • 8 September – Westmorland Show

“I welcome the initiative by SLDC and the Dogs Trust as it encourages residents to comply with the statutory duties required.

“It is also a great opportunity for residents to see their local show and have their dogs microchipped at the same time.”

– Cllr David Fletcher, South Lakeland District Council

Councillor urges Prime Minister to re-think right-to-buy scheme

A council in Cumbria has written to the Prime Minister, urging the government to drop it's plans to extend the Right to Buy scheme.

Under the plans housing association tenants will have the chance to buy the properties they live in at vastly reduced discounts.

But Peter Thornton from South Lakeland District Council says that will reduce the amount of social housing that's available for people in need damaging an area that's already struggling to meet the demand for homes.

19 year old Anna Driscoll is one of the many people struggling to find a home in South Lakeland.

She's still living with her parents and has been on the social housing waiting list for four months.

She is worried that the government's plans will make it even more difficult to secure social housing.

But not all people are of the same opinion. A prominent Conservative councillor in Cumbria says his party has got the right policy.

Tune into Lookaround at 6pm tonight to see the full report with Tim Backshall.

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Masterplan for Ulverston leisure facilities

Ulverston Leisure Centre Credit: South Lakeland District Council

A project is being launched to draw up a ‘masterplan’ for the Ulverston Leisure Centre site.

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) is to look at what is possible for the site at Priory Road.

The masterplan will examine how the leisure complex could potentially be re-modelled and improved to meet the future needs of the Ulverston area.

The leisure facilities on the site are run by North Country Leisure (NCL) on behalf of SLDC.

The council and NCL are working together on the masterplan, which has been prompted by GSK’s (GlaxoSmithKline’s) need to relocate its sports centre as part of possible future redevelopment plans of its site on North Lonsdale Road, Ulverston.

The first phase of GSK’s development of a new biopharmaceutical factory would include the construction of a production facility, to be built between 2015 and 2021, followed by a new sports hall, football pitches and bowling green as part of the second phase.

The council is investigating how a new GSK sports centre could potentially link with the town’s existing leisure facilities.

Since NCL took over the contract to run the district’s leisure facilities in April 2014, the number of users of the Ulverston centre has significantly increased, with a 45% increase in all-inclusive memberships compared to this time last year.

Currently the Priory Road site is home to a swimming pool, gym, sports and social club, tennis centre, a full-size artificial pitch, all-weather tennis courts and new 3G pitch, as well as grass rugby and football pitches and associated parking areas.

Ulverston Leisure Centre facilities Credit: South Lakeland District Council

“This is very much a study, to see what we could potentially achieve on the site and how we respond to future opportunities to improve leisure facilities in Ulverston. The first thing we will need to know is, what could the site accommodate?

“No firm plans or proposals for change are going to come forward at this stage and the groups using the Priory Road facilities will be kept informed about the masterplan.

“This study will see what may be possible on the site. It will shape the way we go forward. If a realistic project opportunity does emerge, we would begin an extensive consultation with the local community.’’

– David Sykes, SLDC’s Director of People and Places

South Lakeland District Council's cabinet announced

South Lakeland District Council Leader Peter Thornton announced the new cabinet at a meeting of the Full Council last night.

The new Cabinet membership, and portfolio responsibilities, is as follows:

  • Leader of Council, Portfolio for Promoting South Lakeland and Finance – Cllr Peter Thornton
  • Deputy Leader of Council, Portfolio for Environment and People – Cllr Sue Sanderson
  • Portfolio for Innovation and Improvement – Cllr Jonathan Brook
  • Portfolio for Health and Wellbeing – Cllr Graham Vincent
  • Portfolio for Economic Growth, Town Centres and Small Businesses – Cllr Giles Archibald
  • Portfolio for Housing and Strategic Growth – Cllr Heidi Halliday
  • Portfolio for Culture, Arts and Events – Cllr Chris Hogg

Cllr David Williams, Leader of the opposition group on SLDC, also announced his Shadow Cabinet:

  • · Shadow Leader - Cllr David Williams
  • · Shadow Deputy Leader – Cllr Tom Harvey
  • · Shadow Culture, Arts and Events – Cllr Roger Bingham
  • · Shadow Innovation and Improvement – Cllr James Airey
  • · Shadow Economic Growth, Town Centres and Small Businesses – Cllr Janette Jenkinson
  • · Shadow Health and Wellbeing – Cllr Ben Berry
  • · Shadow Housing and Strategic Development – Cllr John Holmes
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