Last minute plea in bid t rescue arts cash cuts

PUBLISHED: 11:55 21 February 2008 | UPDATED: 22:01 03 May 2010

LIBERAL demcrats will make an 11th hur bid t rescue sme f East Cambridgeshire s arts cash tday (Thursday) as cuncillrs vte n banking mre than £500,000 fr a new leisure centre. Party leader, Cllr Gareth Wilsn, claims the cuncil shuld be prt

LIBERAL demcrats will make an 11th hur bid t rescue sme f East Cambridgeshire's arts cash tday (Thursday) as cuncillrs vte n banking mre than £500,000 fr a new leisure centre.

Party leader, Cllr Gareth Wilsn, claims the cuncil shuld be prtecting services which are already successful rather than saving mney fr a future prject which is nt guaranteed. He cntacted Cnservative and Independent cuncillrs by email this week and urged them t rethink the £70,000 cut in the arts' grant, halving it t just £35,000.

Cllr Wilsn said £35,000 culd be saved instead, by reducing £160,000 they planned t bank in a reserve accunt fr building leisure facilities t just £125,000 this year. A further £180,000 is expected t g int the accunt next year and £200,000 the fllwing year.

The call fr a last minute change f heart cmes fllwing the news that Ely's Babyln Gallery is t clse, and will be put t all members f East Cambridgeshire District Cuncil as they meet t set their budget fr the cming year.

"It seems silly t wipe ut smething which is wrking, fr a vague pssibility f smething that might happen in the future," said Cllr Wilsn.

"Every cmmittee was given a target t make savings. The cmmunity services cmmittee had n easy hits and this was seen as the easiest ne because smene else wuld have t srt it ut.

"But I think the cuncillrs have gt themselves int a state ver this and because they have said they are ging t d it they think they have gt t g ahead with it.

"But why have we gt t d it? It is nt a sensible thing t d."

ADEC directr, Jane Wilsn, said that it wuld be fantastic t think that the rganisatin culd have half the £70,000 back again.

"It wuld make a big difference," she said, "but what effect it wuld have wuld be difficult t knw withut sitting dwn and ding the sums.

"Our budget is incredibly tight and any reductin t the lss wuld be fantastic."

Cuncil leader, Cllr Brian Ashtn said: "We will still be prviding a grant t ADEC in excess f £100,000 and the bard f ADEC has recgnised that the cuncil is particularly interested in supprting cmmunity art, funding the cinema and ther lcal services.

"Of curse, with such a significant reductin in their funding, smething has t give and any adjustment that was made n a ne-year nly basis wuld simply nt remve the necessity fr ADEC t make a decisin based upn pririties."

* ADEC is putting in a bid t run the Maltings' and, if successful will lk at the pssibility f re-pening its art gallery in an under-used cttage next t Jubilee Gardens.

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