CCTV plea to Holbeach Parish Council

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Holbeach Parish Council has been urged to think again about axing its annual payment towards the costs of CCTV in South Holland.

Worried business leaders and councillors have described their disappointment at a decision by the council to withdraw its £5,500 contribution to maintaining the area’s CCTV cameras in an effort to trim about £18,000 from its 2013-14 budget.

Members voted at a meeting last Monday to withdraw its payment to South Holland District Council despite ongoing discussions about a new countywide CCTV system being introduced.

Parish councillors claimed the lack of round-the-clock monitoring of CCTV meant the system was not giving value-for-money.

But Dave Hudson, chairman of Holbeach Business Forum, wants the council to keep the £5,500 set aside last year for CCTV in a holding fund while talks take place between themselves and Spalding and District Chamber of Commerce about taking over management of the scheme from the district council.

He said: “As far as the business forum is concerned, we would prefer it if the parish council kept the CCTV money in the precept to support a new scheme being planned by Spalding and District Chamber of Commerce.

“It is looking to take over running the scheme from South Holland District Council, but there will still be a need for funding and we are urging the parish council to retain the £5,500 in its precept to cover it.

“It would be a worry for businesses if CCTV went from Holbeach because we feel secure in knowing there’s a camera running, whether or not it’s being monitored 24 hours a day.”

A majority of councillors voted to scrap payment for CCTV, but Coun Graham Rudkin was one of three members who voted to keep it.

He said: “I’m disappointed because I think CCTV is something we should have in the town as a deterrent against crime and disorder.

“I voted for it but most of the others didn’t, so I suppose that’s their opinion.

“But if we do away with them, what’s going to happen in the centre of Holbeach?”

Coun Peter Savory, parish council chairman, said: “The CCTV contract comes to an end in March and the reason we’ve voted to opt out in 2013-14 is purely financial.

“We have to look at cutting some costs somewhere and CCTV isn’t monitored 24 hours a day.

“We’ve also never been given any good evidence of how effective it is, even when we’ve asked for it.

“I know the district council is looking at bringing in a whole new scheme and when they do, we’ll look at it.

“We might join that but we’ll see what they’re putting in place first.”