CONTROVERSIAL plans to slash litter picking, street cleaning and sweeping in Worcester have been REVERSED in a city council u-turn.
The new Conservative leadership has acted quickly by making a series of key changes just over two weeks after grabbing back power.
Your Worcester News can reveal:
- Plans to axe £80,000 from litter picks, cleaning and sweeping by 2016, 10 per cent of the total spend on making Worcester look nice, have been scrapped
- A money-saving move to take £10,000 from the spending on new play area equipment has also been reversed
- A new pot of £100,000 has been put to one side to splash on any possible "service improvements" identified over the next year
- £212,000 will fund a new Tory drive to "change" the council as soon as possible, raising the prospect of services being handed to outside providers like the private sector or voluntary groups
The changes, which were voted through by the new-look cabinet on Wednesday, come just 15 days after the new leadership has taken office.
The reason why they are making so many sudden commitments is because a hefty budget surplus of £367,000 has been left over from the last financial year.
An improving economy has led to income in key areas like car parking, sports centres and planning fees coming in better than expected.
It also follows concern about overflowing litter bins in parts of the city during the day.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, the leader, said: "My feeling is that the economy is starting to pick up, and it really does have quite a significant impact on the council's finances.
"This is a very sensible way to go forward, particularly on street cleaning where we want good standards.
"We're passionate about it and want to deliver on our promises."
The cabinet voted to put £45,000 back into the litter and cleaning budget now, and said it would do the same next year to cancel out the old cuts decided upon in February.
Your Worcester News can also reveal how they are still intent on reversing April's car parking rises within weeks, and by the end of July aim to bring coach and lorry prices back to what they were after increases of up to 100 per cent.
Chris Wise, who runs Cafe Severn on the Quay which sits opposite Croft Road car park, said: "It's been hard enough as it is without those prices going up."
Councillor Richard Boorn, from the opposition Labour group, claims the spending could create "a £400,000 black hole" if they aim to continue with it by 2019.