Campaigners voice frustration in fight against cuts to Wrexham's park service

Reporter:

Jonathan Grieve

CAMPAIGNERS who have battled against cuts to Wrexham's park service say they are being forgotten.

The Save Our Parks campaign has fought against planned cuts to the county's parks and protesters say that executive board members have disregarded the large public response to the proposal in the Difficult Decisions consultation.

A spokesman for the group said: “We collected over 1,600 signatures on our petition.

“The council’s document shows this is the joint second most-objected-to proposal out of
them all.

“The executive board has apparently granted extra money for the music service (another of the top three most disliked), but intends to carry on regardless with the cuts to the parks.

“We are individually contacting councillors to ask them to vote against the cuts to the parks at the full council meeting on February 22, and we urge everyone who values their local park to do the same.”

Campaigners also expressed frustration at a perceived lack of response from the council to the petition and their concerns.

The authority intends to press ahead with proposals to cut the number of rangers at the county borough’s 11 country parks, with the Streetscene service helping staff to clean the parks.

Cllr David A Bithell, lead member for environment and transport, said “Proposed changes to the county parks delivery model are just one part of the Difficult Decisions this authority is facing for the coming year, given the difficult financial settlements we have received.

“The proposals for country parks are designed to remodel how we operate these facilities, with the intention of ensuring safe and attractive facilities for visitors and residents while minimising the impacts on our country park programmes and activities.

”I have provided an assurance that some facilities, such as the animals, will continue - but we are remodelling the service to ensure future resilience as we are doing with many other services in this difficult period of austerity.”

The Friends of Nant Mill and Ty Mawr groups voiced strong concerns over Wrexham Council proposals to save about £100,000.

The proposals are among a raft of potential cuts as the authority looks to save £13 million in the next two years.

Both parks have received Green Flag awards and the groups are worried they could lose these standards if the changes, outlined in the council’s latest Difficult Decisions consultation, go ahead.

The authority had been looking to chop its peripatetic school music service – to the tune of a £300,000 saving.

Now it is proposed to continue providing £50,000 in funding for the service on a means-tested basis, allowing children from families struggling financially to continue to access it.

The final budget for 2018/19 is set to go before full council for final approval on February 22.

Email:

jonathan.grieve@nwn.co.uk

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