Hard times are just around the corner!

PUBLISHED: 10:21 07 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:57 11 May 2010

IT SEEMS a shame to start the New Year on a low note, but it looks as if there could be hard times ahead in North Hertfordshire. The credit crunch is beginning to bite at North Herts District Council, with the council admitting it will face some tough de

IT SEEMS a shame to start the New Year on a low note, but it looks as if there could be hard times ahead in North Hertfordshire.

The credit crunch is beginning to bite at North Herts District Council, with the council admitting it will face some "tough decisions" when it sits down next month to set its budget for 2009/10.

According to the council, there is currently a "funding gap" of £250,000, caused by reduced interest receipts, which are set to cost the council just under £1million, and a decrease in the number of planning applications and home searches.

To make matters worse, Cllr Terry Hone, deputy leader of the council, said it could be facing an even greater deficit in 2010/11.

He added: "We will need to find ways of closing the 2009/10 gap before February and then consider the deficit in future years.

"We will do our best to ensure front-line services are protected, but councillors will have to take some tough decisions about how to close the gap."

This will be a testing period for the district council, and we can only hope that its "best" is good enough, and that Royston will not be facing too many cuts to vital services.

One area in which I think it is particularly important that we don't see any price increase is parking.

The cost of parking in the town centre car parks is already a big issue which stops people shopping there.

And a further rise in prices could be disastrous for the future of Royston.

Having recently had the excellent news about the Royston First project, which will see fresh money and ideas injected into the town centre, it would be a great shame if we were to take a massive step in the wrong direction, one that could permanently discourage shoppers from coming to Royston.

AN EARLY contender for the most nonsensical decision of 2009 has emerged in Sheffield.

A new primary school in the town has decided to drop the word "school" from its name. It will instead be known as Watercliffe Meadow place for learning.

Bemused Sheffield MP Richard Caborn told the BBC: "I just don't think the case has been made to drop the word school. I don't know why they have done it."

You have to wonder exactly what planet the people who make these decisions live on, but in light of this, I am proposing that we review the names of a few of the facilities in Royston.

Perhaps Royston Library could be changed to "Royston place where you go to borrow books", Royston Town Football Club could become "Royston place for watching 22 men kick a ball around and trying to score goals" and The Crow could, of course, become "The Royston Crow thing in which you read the news".

All very catchy, I'm sure you'll agree!

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