Redbridge Council has begun a programme of sustained cuts to the tune of £25 million that will have a huge impact on Wanstead. To put it in context, Redbridge has an annual budget of around £90 million. Around £6 million has already been saved in the current financial year, which leaves about £19 million to go.
Admittedly, the Council faces an unenviable task. Its grant has been reduced from central Government, and no one wants to see an increase in Council tax just as we exit a recession. Faced with tough economic circumstances, the Council has had to make tough economic decisions.
However, there is no getting away from the fact that over the next 4 years, we, as tax payers and residents, will be getting less bang, for our hard earned Council Tax buck.
The Wanstead Society has set out below what some of these cuts will mean specifically for Wanstead. Although, the Council won’t fully decide its budget for 2011 until March so the below will be subject to decisions taken then.
The Good News
It’s not all bad! From 1st April 2011 a pot of £300,000 is being made available for works in the area of the High Street. These works are Highway related. This could mean new lighting, signage, better pavements, road surface improvements etc. The idea is to improve our street scene.
Got any ideas on how it should be spent – contact your local Councillor sue.Nolan@redbridge.gov.uk or Chris.Cummins@redbridge.gov.uk
The Bad News
£117,000 reduction in planned road maintenance this year, increasing to a reduction of £150,000 in 2011/12 – which means larger pot holes, less resurfacing of roads and pavements and potentially damage to vehicles.
No street sweepers/ bins emptied in parks on Sundays: More litter, increase in rat and fox population in Christchurch Park.
70% Reduction in flood defence spending: Increased risk to flooding in river Roding, and damage to surrounding properties and infrastructure, e.g. roads.
Reduction in street cleansing staff: Toilets not staffed fully.
Not recruiting Lolly-pop men/ women: Possible loss of lolly-pop man outside Wanstead C.o.E Primary when he retires.
Reduction in planning officers: Slower planning process, possibility of planning applications not being given full attention, increase in enforcement notices.
Removal of opening times at weekends for payments and benefits office: Greater inconvenience to public.
All of the above represent in year 2010/11 savings. There are further reductions for 2011/12 and 2012/13.
There is much pain due still to come – we will keep our members informed!