Blackpool is a special place coastlines, victorian piers, and an award-winning park. But how do we live, work and make the most of our surroundings? I admit to dreaming of wilder green spaces or a few trees in the town centre, pop up exhibitions, smaller boutique businesses on the high street, more amazing independent coffee shops like The Upsidown and Hive whose efforts through lockdown have lead to creating space for plant sales and fruit and veg on-site only adding to their curb appeal.
It feels unique to live in a place that was designed for tourists and sometimes I question how connected the residents feel here. With the new Showtown Museum and Winter Gardens conference site well underway, It feels like a key offer then when Blackpool Council invites residents to feedback on the 20/21 budget as communities eventually find their way through the repercussions of a pandemic – what does this mean to the people who live and work in Blackpool?
Over the past 10 years, central government funding for local authorities has decreased meaning the council’s financial pressures are significant, with Blackpool Council having around £1 billion less to spend on services since 2010.
This has been further impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic, with the council delivering further support and services to those most affected, making it more important than ever that residents inform the council of priorities such as social housing, support for young people, opportunities, resilience, what culture might mean to local communities, business support grants, in particular, feels fundamental in current times.
The council has invited those who work or live in the town to fill out an online survey to help to create an understanding of what people think about the local services and what changes would have the greatest impact on their household and community.
I had a go at filling in the questionnaire myself with plenty of space to write personal comments closely associated with the community. What would your suggestions be to the council – here is your opportunity.
The form should take around 10 to 15 minutes to complete and is available online until Sunday 13 December.
How it works
The council is hopeful that Blackpool will be able to put forward their say to ensure that the available budget is spent in the best interests of the residents and the communities – as well as making savings along the way.
The results gathered from the survey will be considered by the councillors and council officers with further exercises put in place to bring forward the budget proposals that would impact specific council services.
A summary report will be available in the supporting papers of the final budget report to the council.
Some of the key areas the survey will focus on are the council’s priorities (for example, tourism and culture, infrastructure and regeneration as well as improved housing); the community (including young people, health and social care, and safeguarding); and the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on its services.
Don’t miss out
Cllr Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Due to the coronavirus crisis, it has never been more important that the Blackpool residents get involved in the survey so that the council knows where to spend the 2021/22 budget.
“This means we can prioritise the funding on improving the local services, which will benefit the communities that need it the most.
“We want to hear from all walks of life so that everyone sees a positive impact from the changes we will make to the town and its services over the next 12 months.”
The survey will be available to complete until Sunday 13 December 2020. It is important that no one misses out on having their say.
Useful links: www.blackpool.gov.uk/Consultation
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