Sidmouth Town Council set to take on district assets

PUBLISHED: 09:24 24 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:20 17 June 2010

TOWN councillors will take on four district council assets, including Sidmouth Golf Course, subject to clarification on just what is being offered. They agreed, despite concerns about taking on more financial commitments during a recession. I think to

TOWN councillors will take on four district council assets, including Sidmouth Golf Course, subject to clarification on just what is being offered.

They agreed, despite concerns about taking on more financial commitments during a recession.

"I think to take on assets without any source of funding is asking for trouble," warned Councillor Jeffery Turner, responsible for finance.

But Councillor Ann Liverton said: "This town is a town of lost opportunities. We have all looked back and said if only we had done this and taken on that.

"I think we should agree in principle to accept this with clarification. I think we should grab them with both hands."

The four assets offered to the council by East Devon District Council are

* Sidmouth Golf Course/clubhouse

* Long Park play area, Woolbrook

* Skate park, Manstone

* Sidford Playing Fields.

Councillors want to know why other assets on its wish list are not included.

The deadline for transferring these "at nil consideration" is February 14. After that EDDC cannot transfer assets if the Boundary Commission decides on a unitary option for Devon.

Previously, town councillors voiced concerns over the lack of clarity regarding transfers, limited assets offered and possible financial liabilities.

Councillor Chris Gibbings said the council should not prevaricate and agreed it should go ahead, with clarification over what was being offered.

"I really think now is the time. You will regret it if you don't," said Councillor Graham Liverton.

"We want to be a quality council and take on more responsibility. I suggest we take on all of these."

Mr Turner said while the golf course might pay for itself there were maintenance responsibilities for the other assets which would have "major budgetary implications."

Concerned local taxpayers would be "critical" of the council when it had to precept for more to maintain these, he added: "I think we really ought to turn it down at this point and wait until the whole issue of local government funding gets sorted out."

But others disagreed.

"If we don't bite the bullet now we never will," said Councillor Mary Jolly. "What is the point of becoming a quality council if we turn this down? We should bite the bullet and go ahead.


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