Have a say about lottery spending

RESIDENTS across St Neots are to be asked how they would spend money raised by a town lottery following a split among councillors. Questionnaires, which will be sent to all homes in the town, will be used to gauge public opinion and settle a political dis

RESIDENTS across St Neots are to be asked how they would spend money raised by a town lottery following a split among councillors.

Questionnaires, which will be sent to all homes in the town, will be used to gauge public opinion and settle a political dispute about how to spend the proceeds of a weekly draw.

The idea of establishing a lottery in St Neots was the brainchild of the town mayor, Councillor Bob Eaton, who saw a similar scheme operating successfully in Wales.

Town councillors have agreed to set up a lottery but a row has erupted between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives about how to spend the profits.


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Cllr Derek Giles, leader of the Lib Dems, said proceeds should be used "for the benefit of good local causes".

He added: "Such a lottery would be feasible, but only if it is well supported on a regular basis.

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"We need to know what public support there would be and which good causes the people of St Neots would like to see the lottery profits support."

However, Conservative councillor Barry Chapman believes the money would be better put towards the town's heritage to boost tourism.

Cllr Chapman said: "Residents live in one of the most generous areas of the country when it comes to supporting good causes. The town council should not be a self-appointed collector of donations for good causes or arbitrator as to which organisation has the best needs."

Instead, he suggests the proceeds be used to fund plaques and statues of famous St Neots residents, such as the St Neots Quads, and to excavate the ancient Priory columns.

Residents are being asked if they support a lottery and how they would like to see the money spent. As well as being sent to homes, questionnaires will be at the town's farmers' market on Saturday.

If supported, lottery tickets would cost £1 each a week with either one large prize of £1,500, or a number of smaller cash prizes.

Although an official launch date has not yet been agreed, it is expected a town lottery will be up and running in St Neots by November this year.

INFORMATION: The questionnaire can be downloaded from www.stneots-tc.gov.uk or from the town council offices, the Priory Centre and the tourist information centre.

Who should get the lottery proceeds? Send your views to: ­editor@huntspost.co.uk or write to: St Neots lottery debate, The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon PE29 3TB.

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