Funding cuts to impact local services
On Monday, Councillor Chappers, head of Spennyriver District Council, outlined some of the difficulties the local authority is facing in the wake of increasingly aggressive austerity measures.
“We are living through difficult times. The Central Government is placing some tough restrictions on how we use the money in the public purse. We have had to take the difficult decision to close some of the public services that you have all become accustomed to. This will include leisure centre and library closures.”
The crowd that had gathered around the block of public toilets, which is currently housing the few remaining local government officials, showed their displeasure at this news by circling the toilets, holding placards with a variety of anti-austerity slogans, such as ‘Where’s the money gone?’, ‘Make Bourbons not cuts’, and the old favourite, ‘F*** the F****** F******!’. The crowd, an estimated fifteen people, chanted ‘What do we want? Leisure centres! When do we want them? Between 2pm and 6pm on weekdays to avoid bingo nights!’. Feelings on this subject are clearly running high.
Councillor Chappers did, however, have some positive news and some alternative suggestions:
“There is some good news: the expenses claim I put in for a treehouse for my son has been approved. Timber will be arriving at the weekend, and work will begin straight away. We have also reached an agreement to share space with ‘Vera’s Chips’ to keep the library open. From Monday, books will be available alongside the fish and chips. We are still in discussions with a number of local businesses about rehousing leisure centre facilities, and we will make an announcement on that shortly.”
Some of you will remember the role that the Leisure Centre played in the town’s celebrations of the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, Brazil. Taking their lead from the summer games, the Leisure Centre decided to change the colour of the water in the swimming pool as a tribute to all our athletes that were competing over in Rio. In the pools in Rio, a combination of bacteria, heat and sunlight turned the water a murky green colour for part of the games, and the decision was taken that we should do likewise.
Leader of the council, Cllr Chappers, had this to say about this creative innovation at that time:
“We are very proud of all the athletes who have travelled to Rio for the 2016 Summer Games. We are especially proud of our athletes here in Spennyriver who have travelled to Brazil to be a part of this incredible spectacle. They will form a crucial part of this Olympics, as volunteers, who will be directing spectators to important facilities at the games, including the hotdog concession stand, the accessible toilets, and some of the many lifts in the Olympic stadium. In recognition of their efforts, we wanted to do something that would remind our residents of the hard work they have put in. The now infamous green water in the diving pool seemed as good a way as any, so with our local swimming gala upcoming, we decided to change the water colour in our pool.”
You may also remember at the time there was concern over the chemicals that had been used to achieve this colouring. When pressed, Cllr Chappers had this to say about the safety of the water:
“I understand your concerns, but you have my word that no additional chemicals were used in obtaining the new colour of the pool water. In fact, Spennyriver residents will be pleased to know that we used a zero-cost solution. We were able to persuade the children of the Brian Clough Primary School to assist us over the previous 2 weeks by all coming along and urinating in the pool. Over those 2 weeks, the pool has changed colour to an off-green, achieved through this chemical-free method.”
We asked about any precautions that gala swimmers may need to take:
“There is absolutely no reason for concern by the competitors. We simply suggest that if you have sensitive skin, you should probably not take part, and for those that are competing, we are suggesting that you wear a sturdy pair of goggles and avoid opening your mouth. In fact, if you can compete without going below the surface, that would be ideal.”
With further funding cuts anticipated, we will try to keep you appraised of all the relevant opportunities for protesting.
Spennyriver is a small town deep in the heart of the Midlands, UK. The Spennyriver Dispatch is the local paper bringing you all the local news, keeping you up to date with all the happenings in this strange town.
It’s like a regular town with regular people. Just weirder.