KIRKBY Lonsdale residents have spoken out against a marketing project they feel is 'wasting' their ‘strapped’ council's budget.

Councillors voted last year to invest £7,500 in a social enterprise called Love the Lune (LTL), designed to raise the profile of Kirkby.

South Lakeland District Council matched the sum with a £7,500 grant and a further £15,000 was injected by Cumbria Fells and Dales so it could set up a website.

But residents and traders have said other causes like the riverside path and the town's public toilets should take priority for funding over LTL.

“Many of us residents were, and remain, extremely sceptical for the potential of love the Lune,” said Chris Robins, a retired retailer.

Love the Lune's premises, which sells gifts, is provided by SLDC for £1 per year. Mr Robins said this put LTL on an ‘unfair footing to other traders' who ‘are struggling to pay their own rents’.

Mr Robin added: “Any money that may be available from whatever source should be steered towards absolute necessities.”

John Short, owner of The Art Store, in Main Street, said lots of tourists complained about the 'terrible state’ of Kirkby's toilets and the 'dangerous condition' of the riverside walk.

“It's infuriating really. Money could be better spent on these projects which would help attract tourists to Kirkby rather than on marketing."

A public meeting is to be held in Kirkby Lonsdale Institute tonight(Wednesday) to bring the community up to date with LTL, highlighting what has been achieved and what is planned for the future.

Allan Muirhead, chairman of the town council and committee a member of Love the Lune, said: "The October 5 meeting will answer many of these comments.

“The town council already manages the Jingling Lane public toilets and plans to improve facilities there.

"The district council has offered us the management of Devil's Bridge toilets as well, with associated financial incentives.

‘An improvement scheme for the riverside footpath is currently taking place in a joint initiative between the town council and the county council.

“It is a complicated engineering project and because of the amount of money it requires, the county are trying to 'stage' the work, to spread the cost between this financial year and the next one."