North Devon must find one million this year

Joseph Bulmer

Warning of more tough times ahead as new coalition bids to balance the books

THE new administration at North Devon Council has warned of tough financial times ahead.

New deputy leader Councillor Rodney Cann claimed the council would need to find one million pounds in savings this year.

“I believe that the previous Conservative budget was one for an election and it is not sustainable,” he said after the Annual Council Meeting on Thursday.

“Obviously we will do what we can to protect front line services but nothing is guaranteed at this time.”

Mr Cann said the new administration had “hit the ground running” and already saved around �20,000 in members’ allowances with its exclusion of executive members from the planning committee.

He also warned of proposed developments for Barnstaple locations including Fremington Camp, Larkbeare and Roundswell, which he said could change the face of the town but had been “kicked into touch until after the election.”

The weeks since the election have seen a great deal of negotiation behind closed doors and although the final outcome was expected, it was not certain.

Cllr Cann said the new administration had been “keen to work with all parties” and wanted to accommodate the Conservatives.

“I consulted with Brian Greenslade and offered the Conservatives one place on executive, plus chairman of the planning and scrutiny committees, but they rejected that and wanted four places,” he said.

Conservative leader Des Brailey had called the offer “derisory.”