Barnoldswick residents will see their precept payments doubled as the town council gets to grips with funding public toilets and other devolved services.

Public toilets in the town centre, Victory Park and Letcliffe Park will be kept open after Barnoldswick Town Council voted for a 109 per cent hike in the precept to fund the running costs of the conveniences when Pendle Council pulls the plug on the facilities at the end of March.

The town council decided to fund the toilets, together with other services being cut by the borough council, at its budget setting meeting last Wednesday.

“Saving the toilets and other facilities in Barnoldswick is a high priority for the town’s representatives,” said town council chairman, Coun Ken Hartley. “This is reflected in the decision to find the money to keep some services going.

“With Pendle Council losing almost two thirds of its grant from government, major facilities are threatened by cuts. Barnoldswick Town Council will do what it can to keep important services and facilities in the town for local people.”

As well as budgeting more than £13,000 for public toilets, the town council agreed to contribute £8,500 towards Christmas decorations currently provided by Pendle Council and put £17,000 in its budget for further costs if other services are taken over by the Barnoldswick authority.

The town council cut its spending on event costs, in anticipation of losing a £7,000 grant from the borough council, but still plans to provide Barnoldswick Beach for four weeks in August and stage a May Music Festival in Barnoldswick’s town square at the spring bank holiday.

The town council set its precept at £119,090 and overall budget at £143,590 with grants and other income estimated at around £25,000.

Last year, the precept was £57,000, but grants and other income took the total budget spending to £103,500.

From April, Band D householders, who were paying £21.94 per year, will be faced with a bill of £44.71.

“This was necessary to keep the level of activities that we currently do,” added Coun Hartley, who pointed out that the town council might have to use some of the £17,000 set aside to fund the running of the Civic Hall, CCTV operation in the town centre and some grass cutting of verges on the four main approach roads into the town.

Any money that is not used would go towards rebuilding the town’s reserves, which Coun Hartley said had been gradually depleted over the last seven years.