Amenities may return to town council

PUBLISHED: 09:57 20 February 2009 | UPDATED: 21:41 31 May 2010

A NUMBER of local amenities could soon be brought back into the control of Saffron Walden Town Council. Cllr David Watson proposed that the council open discussions with Uttlesford District Council over the possibility of transferring amenities in the sp

A NUMBER of local amenities could soon be brought back into the control of Saffron Walden Town Council.

Cllr David Watson proposed that the council open discussions with Uttlesford District Council over the possibility of transferring amenities "in the spirit of partnership working and the safeguarding and improvement of local assets".

The amenities - currently under the remit of UDC - to be considered could include Dorset House Gardens, Bridge End Gardens, Jubilee Gardens, The Battle Ditches, flower beds and Saffron Walden Cemetery.

Mr Watson said: "The town council have greater flexibility in both human resources and funding to maintain and improve these as we would wish.

"We have seen how well this could work with the recent litter bin collection arrangements, the refurbishment of the Close Gardens and the developments we have made, and are still making, to the Tourist Information Centre.

"I believe it leads to greater civic pride when decisions are taken at the lowest level of local administration and improves our relationship with other parts of Uttlesford, who often feel less affinity with these amenities."

Such amenities became district council responsibility during the local government reorganisation in the 1970s.

But Mr Watson said that the proposals falls in line with the wish of the district council to devolve more functions to town and parish councils, and is also part of the town council's four-year plan.

"I realise that there will need to be extensive negotiation with the district council over the terms of such a transfer," he said.

"This is certainly not empire building on the part of the town council but is, I feel, a sensible and practical thing to do."

A UDC spokesman said the district council would welcome discussions with the town council but could not comment further as "talks were at the earliest stage".

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