Playground cuts dubbed 'Scrooge-like' by councillor

Worcester: councillors claims playground cuts will hurt

Worcester: councillors claims playground cuts will hurt

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

CALLS are being made to scrap a £10,000 cut in playground maintenance across Worcester.

Councillor Roger Knight, a former cabinet member responsible for the environment, has called the move "scrooge-like" and says Worcester City Council could easily afford to do a u-turn on it.

As your Worcester News revealed in January, the cut is part of a move to reduce spending by nearly £1 million over the next year.

Cllr Knight: "When you look at the overall budget a saving of £10,000 is very small.

"But it will have a real impact on the people who use our play facilities, to cut it seems almost scrooge-like.

"I do question the need to actually do this at all, especially when you consider how important our facilities are to people."

He also said the fact the council is heading towards an overall budget surplus of nearly £150,000 shows there is more room for manoeuvre than first thought.

The council has a yearly maintenance budget of £110,000 for play areas around Worcester, but the move will bring it down to £100,000.

The Labour leadership says taking money away is part of a long-term strategy, and believes the public will not notice.

Councillor Matthew Lamb, cabinet member for cleaner and greener, said: "When Roger had this role there was a review of play areas and with 52 across the city, there was a general agreement it'd be a challenge to maintain them all.

"Worcester has been lucky in the past, we have got a lot of play facilities compared to other comparable areas.

"The £10,000 reduction from a budget of £110,000 is a reduction to reflect the fact we've got less play facilities than we used to have.

"We don't need as much (money) to maintain them and it's not a change under this Labour council, it's a strategy dating back to 2011."

Under the strategy play equipment which reaches the end of its useful life is not being replaced at selected sites.

The move sparked anger last year when a popular park in Howcroft Green, Warndon Villages had items of equipment dismantled by council workers.

But the council says it is still investing in play areas where the nearby provision is lacking, with the most imminent being Waverley Street, Diglis.

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