Street cleaning cuts proposed by Walsall Council

February 26th, 2015 Category: Schools

Proposals which offer alternatives to cuts street cleaning in the West Midlands has been put forward, according to recent reports.

In Walsall, members of the Conservative opposition party put forward plans to slash the street cleaning budget and reduced the number of libraries.

The original plans submitted by Walsall Council means that instead of cleaning the main routes throughout the borough once a fortnight, they would be maintained once a month instead.

It would result in 15 out of the 58 environmental operative jobs in the area would have been lost while the numbers of mechanical sweepers would have been reduced from two to one.

Furthermore, the budget cuts means that staff members who were on sick leave or holiday would not be covered.

This could potentially result in yet further delays to street cleaning and road maintenance. 

Under the plans, the council is encouraging residents to bear some of the responsibility for cleaning their neighbourhoods.

A report entitled Environment and Transport by Walsall Council states: “The saving may affect the overall appearance and perceived cleanliness of neighbourhoods and the level of pride in local communities.

"To counter this possibility the council will encourage local communities to take greater responsibility for the cleanliness of their respective neighbourhoods and support them in doing so where it can.”

However, critics said that the cuts would result in more drains being blocked, while important services such as litter picking, would also be scaled back.

These plans will save the council around £477,000 overall. The street cleaning reductions alone would save £226,747.

This would affect street sweeping services, graffiti removal and rubbish collection.

However, no firm decision has been made yet, as the council is set to make a decision on February 26th.

The plans have attracted a number of protests from concerned residents.

However, the Conservative opposition party has put forward alternative plans. Instead of widespread cuts to street cleaning, instead council workers would see their hours cut in a bid to save £5.5 million next year.
Furthermore, the Conservative plans would see third party organisations being bought in to manage certain facilities in parts of the borough.

Commenting on the proposed changes, Conservative group leader Mike Bird said in an interview published by the Express and Star: "We are in difficult times with little manoeuvrability but there are only two things we can do to reduce the overhead or increase income, these proposals are a mixture of both.

"These alternatives show a vision for the future with a pledge to secure as many jobs as possible by reducing wage costs."

The Liberal Democrat's have also submitted alternative plans in the area.