New ‘Anti-Social Behaviour Officer’ for Morecambe on cards

Brendan Hughes, chairman of Morecambe Town Council finance committee.
Brendan Hughes, chairman of Morecambe Town Council finance committee.

Morecambe Town Council may scrap its funding of PCSOs and bring in a dedicated Anti-Social Behaviour Officer to tackle youth gangs.

The town council’s draft annual budget includes £14,000 for the new role but nothing for Police Community Support Officers.

Brendan Hughes, chairman of the council’s finance committee, said: “We don’t think we are getting value for money. The PCSOs do an absolutely fantastic job but operational decisions on what they do are made by the police. We have no input into that.”

There are eight PCSOs in Morecambe. Morecambe Town Council currently pays a third of the annual cost of three officers (£33,804).

Coun Hughes said a new Anti-Social Behaviour Officer could have powers to deal with noise complaints, flytipping and could ‘move on’ youngsters who congregate on the streets.

The budget proposals also include £1,000 towards CCTV in Morecambe.

Lancaster City Council has announced it will stop operating the CCTV system in Morecambe and Lancaster from March 2017 as a cost-cutting measure.

A task force has been set up to try to find the cash to keep it going.

The council also looks set to pay for public toilets near the former Dome site (£9,000), Christmas lights (£7,000) and festivals (£55,000) in 2017/18.

The Dome toilets were due to open on certain weekends and bank holidays in 2016 for the first time since 2009 when Lancaster City Council closed them due to budget cuts but their re- opening was delayed until 2017.

Other budget items include £3,000 for the annual Morecambe In Bloom competition and £12,000 to pay for an Environmental Enforcement Officer for the second year running, who can give out penalties for littering and dog fouling in the town.

The 2017/18 budget will be finalised at the town council meeting at Morecambe Town Hall on Thursday at 7pm. All welcome.

Every year Morecambe Town Council, a parish council with limited powers compared to the district’s main local authority Lancaster City Council, is given an amount of money from our Council Tax called a ‘precept’.

The town council’s precept for 2017/18 will be £186,435.28, up from £183,348.49 in 2016/17.

The town council spends this money based on its set priorities, which were decided after a survey of Morecambe people. Improving public toilets came out top of the list of priorities.

The council is expected to carry forward £112,702.41 from last year’s budget although most of this is committed expenditure.