PENDLE Leisure Trust sent an e-mail to Colne Town Council chairman, Sarah Cockburn-Price on 6th February explaining that discussions had been taking place over few months with Cty Cllr Ali about providing free swimming to Pendle primary pupils in the school holidays. Colne Town Council was informed that if it wanted give this benefit to the children of the town and surrounding villages, the cost next year would be £10,517.76.

Cllr Sarah Cockburn-Price explained: “Our natural inclination was to support this worthwhile initiative, so I asked our CEO and Clerk, Colin Hill, to consider the financial implications, especially bearing in mind our residents were being asked to additionally fund children from Trawden, Laneshaw Bridge and Foulridge.”

The precept for Colne Town Council for 2017/18 had already been set in the December Full Council meeting, so Mr Hill asked Pendle Borough Council whether this could be reconsidered in the light of this new demand on the Council’s finances. He was told Colne’s precept demand could not be amended and therefore if councillors were to support this scheme, the Council would be forced to draw on its already stretched reserves.

“There was no indication given that there would be any financial assistance from Lancashire County Council to help part fund Colne Town Council with this initiative”, said Mr. Hill. “Colne was being asked to fund the second largest contribution. I therefore tabled an item for the next available Full Council meeting on 15th February when the item was discussed and Members agreed unanimously that Colne Town Council was not in a position to support this scheme.”

Here is the relevant extract from the minutes of that meeting:

“A free swimming for primary school children scheme during the school holidays was considered. Pendle Leisure Trust offered this scheme at a cost of £10,518 to Colne Town Council with Colne Town Council expected to subsidise Foulridge, Trawden and Laneshaw Bridge pupils.
Members were disappointed at the lateness of this request to Colne Town Council and, given that the Precept has already been set, is unable to support this request, that also would involve Colne Town Council’s Precept being used to benefit non payers of its Precept.
Action: CEO to advise Pendle Leisure Trust of this decision.”

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