Pay a bit more and keep the Lantern Centre for Ilfracombe

The Lantern Centre in Ilfracombe High Street.

The Lantern Centre in Ilfracombe High Street. - Credit: Archant

Ratepayers being asked if they are willing to pay more council tax so the building can continue to be used by the community.

THE people of Ilfracombe are being asked if they wish the town to own the Lantern Centre – but it will mean an increase in council tax.

Devon County Council is willing to give the building to Ilfracombe Town Council, but it will initially run at a loss of £47,000 a year, the North Devon Gazette can reveal.

The town council said it recognised the Lantern is a valuable community asset, but has no budget to cover the running costs.

So it is carrying out a consultation to ask people if they are willing to pay a little more, amounting to £1.21 per month or £14.50 a year on a Band D council tax.

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“We haven’t got the money, so we are going out to the community to ask them if they are willing to pay extra on their council tax for it,” said the Mayor, Councillor Lynda Courtnadge.

“I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked about the Lantern. There’s a lot of value to having it, but financially the town council just can’t afford take it on as it is.

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“Most villages have a parish or village hall, but as a town we have nothing that gives us a community hall. If we lose it, there won’t be another opportunity.”

Mrs Courtnadge said there would be a big community engagement during the Lighting of the Lights event on Wednesday, November 27 and the consultation questionnaire had gone out to community groups.

She said it will also be distributed to shops along the High Street and asked that as many people as possible took part to make their voices heard.

Copies can also be picked up at The Ilfracombe Centre, downloaded from the website or from the Ilfracombe Town Council Facebook page.

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