Would you support a lottery for St Neots?

THE idea of establishing a monthly town lottery in St Neots to help fund leisure facilities - including a cinema - moved a step forward last week, but the idea has already attracted a lot of doubters. At Wednesday s town council meeting, councillors agree

THE idea of establishing a monthly town lottery in St Neots to help fund leisure facilities - including a cinema - moved a step forward last week, but the idea has already attracted a lot of doubters.

At Wednesday's town council meeting, councillors agreed to allow Gavin Clark, head of leisure and amenities, to further investigate the possibility of setting up a town lottery.

The idea was raised by St Neots Mayor, Councillor Bob Eaton, who saw the success of a town lottery first hand when he lived in Pembrokeshire.

Established 14 years ago, the Pembrokeshire Lottery has a top prize of £2,000.

Tickets can be bought through a direct debit scheme, with the result announced live on local radio. It raises about £6,500 a month with tickets costing £1 each.

However, some councillors warned that St Neots find problems in its size - Pembrokeshire has a much larger population than Cambridgeshire's largest town.

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Cllr Barry Chapman suggested that the money generated by the lottery might not even cover the set-up costs.

"It would cost £55,000 per annum in order to run this lottery and the first lottery would only raise £4,500," he claimed. "For this reason it can not work."

Cllr Paul Ursell was not convinced by the idea either. He said: "There used to be a community lottery operating in St Neots but it wailed when the national lottery was set up, but it did raise enough money to pay for the St Neots Rugby Club premises."

Town clerk, Philip Devonald also had his doubts. He said: "We have to ask ourselves why if this is such a cash cow why isn't it operating in all towns."

The Mayor, however, remained positive stating that he thought "a lottery could work in the town".

Computer software to set-up such a lottery is estimated to cost £7,500. If the scheme was established in St Neots it is hoped that initially the money generated will be pooled with Peter Rowley's £1million gift to set up a cinema before helping to fund other leisure facilities such as a new outdoor swimming pool.

INFORMATION: Do you think a monthly town lottery could work in St Neots? Send your views to editor@huntspost.co.uk or write to The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE29 3TB.

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