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More than 6,300 responses to £1.8m cuts consultation

More than 6,300 people have taken part in Fenland District Council's initial public consultation on where it should look to find £1.8 million of extra savings over the next three years.

Have Your Say

Council leader Councillor John Clark is delighted by the response, which is much higher than normal for this kind of survey.

The consultation closed last Monday (October 26). Council officers have since been collating and analysing all the responses, and a report will be published later this month.

Further consultation, looking in more detail at potential options, will be held during 2016.

The extra £1.8 million savings, described by Cllr Clark as "a huge financial challenge", have been forced on the council by the Government's austerity measures. They come on top of earlier cuts totalling more than £8 million that the council has made since 2010.

The consultation was launched online in mid-September. The questionnaires were also posted to all 44,000 households across the district. In total, 6,360 people replied - a response rate of 14 per cent.

People were asked to indicate at least six of a possible 19 services where they felt costs could best be reduced. They were also asked to say which of seven other possible ways the council could make savings they would prefer to be considered first.

Residents were also able to add their own comments on ways in which the council could bridge the funding gap.

Cllr Clark said: "We are absolutely delighted with the response and I'd like to thank everyone who has taken the time and trouble to give us their feedback. What they have told us will play an important part in our future decision-making.

"However, we also have to bear in mind all those who, for whatever reason, haven't taken part in this survey. The tough decisions we are having to take will have major long-term implications and we need to consider what is best for everyone in Fenland. So it is very important that we do not rush those decisions."

Cllr Clark stressed that the survey was only the first stage in a continuing consultation process.

Two special workshops are to be held on November 16 and 18, giving all FDC councillors the chance to examine various cost-cutting options. They will then give officers the task of working up in more detail the options they want to be taken forward.

Following that, further public consultation will be held in the new year, when residents will be presented with more detailed financial information about the cost-cutting measures deemed to be the most practicable and asked to comment again on those.

Article added November 4, 2015