Anger over plans for cuts to mayoralty in Preston

The current Mayor of Preston, Coun John Collins, opening the revamped Fish Market canopy earlier this year

The current Mayor of Preston, Coun John Collins, opening the revamped Fish Market canopy earlier this year

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Proposals to change the role of the Mayor of Preston as part of major cuts to council services have been met with anger.

“Radical changes” to the authority’s services are being proposed in an emergency budget, in an attempt to tackle massive reductions in government funding.

Leisure centres could be sold off, with leaders investigating the potential for “alternative service delivery providers” for West View and Fulwood leisure centres.

Also in the firing line are some council-owned buildings which could be sold, and the mayoralty budget which is to be reviewed.

Council bosses said the mayoralty had to be looked at along with everything else, describing the service as a “luxury” while other areas were at risk.

Coun Pauline Brown, leader of the city’s Liberal Democrats group, raised concerns about the proposed sale of assets.

She said: “You can only sell off your family silver once, and after that what are you going to do?

“Are we back to the budget black hole?”

Coun Brown said the mayoral budget had been “cut and cut”, and described the mayor as “vital”. She said: “I’m totally behind the fact we should have a mayor, the mayor is the figurehead for Preston.”

Regarding the leisure centres, she said: “The ideal thing is to do what we’ve been suggesting for years to find an alternative provider for them.”
Conservative councillor and former Mayor Coun Christine Abram, said: “A mayor does more than just going around visiting people, they are there to promote the city and I think it’s very important.”