AN EXTRAORDINARY meeting has been arranged as opposition councillors are calling for a change of leadership at South Ribble Council.

Cllr Matthew Tomlinson, who represents the Broadfield ward, insists that the Labour group are questioning whether leader Cllr Peter Mullineux has the support of the authority.

He claims the final straw came after the council took four hours to approve the budget last week.

“Cllr Mullineux could not get the council to agree his own budget and it was only after a four hour meeting that any budget was agreed.

“It was an amended version that got through. We need a change of the council.

“It is a real concern that the council leader does not have the confidence of his own group and also the council. It does not give a good impression for our residents or even our partners who we work with.

“They want leadership who is going to make promises and then going to go through with it.”

The meeting is taking place on March 14.

Meanwhile, Cllr Mullineux hit back at the claims.

He said: “I think from an administration point over view it seems like sour grapes to put this motion forward.

“It is just because they did not get their own way on their budget amendments. It is a very positive and exciting budget with building a new leisure centre in Leyland while other councils are struggling to look forward.”

South Ribble Borough Council agreed to a raise in council tax by 2.99 per cent - which works out a t £6.23 a year - for an average Band D property.

The authority believe they are investing in a happy, healthy and prosperous future for its residents, with an ambitious growth budget and it will raise £221,000 towards investing in the borough’s future.

The £13m annual budget underpins the council’s new Corporate Plan – a five-year plan detailing improvements for the people of South Ribble and how the authority plan to get there.

The Corporate Plan sets out the council’s vision, to be “a council that is recognised for being innovative, forward-thinking and financially self-sufficient, whilst putting people at the heart of everything with do.”

Over the next five years, the council will invest more than £42m in improving services for residents and transforming the way the council works. The authority also will be taking an entrepreneurial approach to ensure the council is financially self-sufficient.

Cllr Mullineaux, said: “This year we are announcing much more than an annual budget for South Ribble – we are announcing our vision for the future, and a five-year plan of how we will get there.

“We want South Ribble to be a place with high employment, good schools, with access to affordable homes, high life expectancy, and a place where people feel safe.

“However, like all public services, we are facing significant challenges and pressure to become financially self-sufficient, whilst continuing to meet the demand for services and needs of our residents, businesses and partners.

“This year we are changing the way we are organised and do business.

“This means playing an active role in leading the growth agenda for the borough and taking an entrepreneurial approach to how we work.

“Our goal is to make South Ribble the best place to live and work, not only for our residents today, but for their children and their children’s children.”

South Ribble Borough Council collects council tax from residents, it only keeps around 12.5p in every pound it collects – and the remaining money goes to Lancashire County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, and Lancashire Combined Fire and Rescue Authority.