Friends of Kinneil fear impact of radical council plan

A report on tourism and leisure has sparked concern with community group Friends of Kinneil, which fears the implications of a radical cost-cutting scheme.

Saturday, 22nd June 2019, 5:12 pm
Events like Roman Day have helped draw the wider population to attractions such as Kinneil House and Museum - but how these and other key local assets will be funded and managed in future is causing concern.

The wide-ranging council report sets out an initial plan of action that aims to deliver on the move to slash the service payment to Falkirk Community Trust (FCT) by £5.3million by 2024.

Part of the plan centres on investing in assets reckoned capable of boosting the Trust’s income to offset the major cut in subsidy.

Friends of Kinneil are concerned at the suggestion that Kinneil Estate and Museum, among other publicly-owned assets, should not be managed by the local authority but instead by “community interest groups” - and with reduced funding.

One particular phrase in the report’s concluding comments has worried the group.

It says the strategy will “create the opportunity to assist communities to make the shift from a culture of entitlement to one of empowerment by encouraging greater community ownership and involvement and their management of suitable assets”.

Commenting on social media, Friends of Kinneil said the proposals contain recommendations “with potentially major implications of very serious concern for Kinneil Estate and Museum, as well as several other public buildings, parks and services in Bo’ness and in the wider area”.

It adds: “Elsewhere in the paper, it is claimed that community groups will want to express their ‘aspirations’ about taking on this shift (ie from the ‘culture of entitlement’)”.

The report is said to represent an opportunity to make a step change in the council’s approach to investment in culture and sport, “informed by a determination to improve the quality of servide for those most in need”.

At the same time it aims to “safeguard and maintain the vibrancy and vitality” of key facilities “against a backdrop of ongoing financial pressure”.

It concludes: “A number of specific proposals included within this paper will require collaborative working with the community, clubs and groups, and both the Council and FCT are committed to taking this forward”.

Friends of Kinneil is advising its supporters to “examine the proposals very carefully and ensure that councillors are aware of the community’s views”.