City councillors gear up for budget debate

PUBLISHED: 12:17 23 February 2017

Green Party Oscar Gillespie on Hills Rd, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Green Party Oscar Gillespie on Hills Rd, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

Green councillor hopes to highlight issues affecting city residents and traders.

City councillors are anticipating an important debate tonight, Thursday February 23, as the council moves it’s 2017/2018 budget.

Council tax is likely to be increased by £5.

Green councillor Oscar Gillespie is planning important contributions on key issues affecting city residents and traders.

There are proposals to revamp the market square being discussed, including a consultation and appointment of an officer to oversee it.

The Green party says the issue is much bigger than just redesigning the market square, however. Improving the visual appeal of the square, including better cleaning, would help to bring more people to the area. The charges imposed on traders they say have been ‘harsh and illogical’, and ‘the service provided to them has been poor’.

City Councillor Oscar Gillespie, said of the budget: “When Labour took control of the council in 2014 they inherited a market square that had been neglected and run down for years, incidentally while the Lib Dems were in charge of it, but which provided a handsome income to the council and played a key role in the local economy.

“I can’t blame them for the way it was run previously but they have formulated no plan within three years for revitalising it, instead bringing in more and more fees which explain the record numbers of empty stalls we now see.

“The amendment up for debate talks about a three year project to plan for the future of the market, but it may not survive that long unless Labour speak directly to all the traders and realise how difficult their conditions are to deal with. It’s painful to see the market being strangled.”

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