District council plans cuts to StreetScene

PUBLISHED: 07:38 24 December 2009 | UPDATED: 00:43 16 June 2010

SWINGEING cuts could be made to services across East Devon as the district council tightens its purse strings. And some towns, such as Seaton, are likely to be hit harder than others as they have more facilities.

SWINGEING cuts could be made to services across East Devon as the district council tightens its purse strings.

And some towns, such as Seaton, are likely to be hit harder than others as they have more facilities.

The council could put an end to financing maintenance of the town's clock and cut handymen posts.

Finance chiefs called in the mayors and clerks of Seaton, Axminster, Honiton, Ottery St Mary, Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth town councils - to see if costs could be reduced.

Under the heading 'Delivering Services within Tighter Budgets', the focus was on StreetScene - EDDC's largest service, with the biggest budget.

Seaton mayor Sandra Semple said: "It's the beginning of a tightening of the belt throughout the country.

"It's worrying, but it's predictable - we all have to pay for the excesses of the past, which are nothing to do with us."

She said she would be sad to see the town's clock not being maintained and called for financial support from the community, such as sponsorship.

She added: "Our biggest problem is that they (East Devon District Council) are ceasing to fund half the handymen posts because it affects how the town looks, which affects quality of life."

She said, faced with incidents of graffiti, the town council would not be able to act immediately.

Proposed cuts specific to Seaton are:

Cease maintaining security lighting in gardens..

Cease 3D features in Windsor Gardens..

Cease partnership agreement on Seaton Handyman.

Cease maintaining festoons of coloured lighting

Cease maintenance of town clock

Remove multi-play unit at Seaton Marshes play area

Reduce frequency of grass cutting in cemetery.

At Axminster:

Removal of carpet bed at West Street car park

Removal of floral displays from The Minster.

At Honiton:

Cease security lighting in The Glen

Loss of seasonal cleansing labourer - reduced toilet-cleaning frequency.

Reduce operational support for partnership projects like The Glen.

Cllr Semple said she understood EDDC had to make cuts, but hoped it would be reflected in council tax increases rather than parish and town council precepts increasing.

Other proposals that could affect all East Devon's towns include not employing 14 seasonal cleaners and groundsmen and scaling back grass cutting in public spaces, cemeteries and closed churchyards.

Savings of £50,000 could be made by reducing maintenance of the district's car parks - while reducing repairs of play areas, skate parks and vandalised bus stops and public seats were also discussed.

South West in Bloom entries could also suffer with moves to stop a free plant and tree scheme. There could also be savings of £55,000 by not planting flowers at town gateways, grassing over roadside flowerbeds, pulling funding for floral containers and not weeding verges. The head of StreetScene, Mark Reilly, told councillors that the scheme was the largest service provider and had to make savings.


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