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Neighbourhood Services cuts start to bite

By Katia Harston, Chief Reporter Tuesday 15th April 2014

CUTS to the council's Neighbourhood Services department are beginning to be felt after changes in the way it operates came into effect this month.


Barnsley Council approved a reduction in services such as grass cutting, litter collection, street cleaning and maintenance of shrub flower beds last September.


This was done to make savings in its budget for 2014/15, in response to public spending cutbacks by the government.


Coun Roy Miller said: "It was very difficult to make a decision where cuts to services occur but we have had to change the way we do things.


"In some cases that's meant reducing or stopping services that residents have been used to for a number of years.


"I hope that with the assistance from area Ccuncils and existing volunteer groups, communities will take pride in their own areas to keep them clean."


Litter picking, along with how cleaning and fly-tipping is dealt with has now changed and is part of a planned programme of work.


This means requests to deal with cases of littering or fly-tipping will be picked up 'as a matter of course' when a particular area of the borough is visited, rather than immediately reacting to a complaint.


The exception to this is if the service receives reports of broken glass or syringes.

 

Some areas of the borough are no longer maintained by the council's grass cutting service. These include bankings and any areas of low use where short grass is not strictly necessary.


Shrub beds are being maintained less often and flower beds, apart those outside the town hall, are no longer being planted.


Play areas across the borough will continue to be maintained and minor repairs made but where equipment wears out or is persistently vandalised, items will not be replaced without successful bids for local funding.


The council is urging communities to look after their local equipment, and community groups such as Friends groups are being encouraged to raise funds for new equipment when needed.


Public rights of way have also been affected as they are also being maintained less often.