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‘We’ve listened before cutting services’ says Redbridge council leader

PUBLISHED: 17:02 06 October 2010

WE'VE LISTENED: Council leader Cllr Keith Prince

WE'VE LISTENED: Council leader Cllr Keith Prince

Archant

COUNCIL chiefs have hailed their “listening” budget of cuts which has seen them reverse a series of proposed savings after a backlash from the public.

COUNCIL chiefs have hailed their “listening” budget of cuts which has seen them reverse a series of proposed savings after a backlash from the public.

More than 40 people packed the public gallery at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, yesterday to hear Redbridge Council’s cabinet agree £3.9million of cuts which will bite almost immediately, saving cash from the 2010/11 budget.

Full council will need to agree the 47 separate proposals on October 21 before they are made official.

Proposals scrapped on Tuesday include:

l A plan to close toilets in Horns Road, Newbury Park; Aldborough Road South, Seven Kings Park; Eastwood Close, South Woodford, and Cranbrook Road, Gants, as well as reduce hours at three other public toilets.

l Reductions in the frequency of gully cleansing from annual to biennial.

l The removal of the grounds maintenance contingency, which would have meant trees and shrubs were not replaced and damaged verges were not repaired.

l The closure of the Redbridge Resource Centre, a mental health day centre, and Abury House, a supported accommodation complex with nine purpose-built flats for people with mental health needs.

Plans to axe the borough’s lollipop men and women have also been watered down, with only vacant posts being lost and future vacancies not being filled, saving the council £60,000 a year.

Meanwhile, job cuts in the highways department and a reduction in highways maintenance has been given the green light by cabinet.

Council leader Cllr Keith Prince said: “We’ve done the best we can to achieve these savings without making frontline cuts.

“We are listening to what people tell us. We’ve been open about what we’ve had to look at.

“Nobody wants to make these decisions, but we have to make them quickly.”

The cuts follow the loss of cash previously assigned to Redbridge Council by the government.


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