Fears as pest control service faces the axe
FEARS have been raised after proposals were put forward to scrap the council’s pest control service.
Cheshire East Council bosses have been asked to consider closing down or reducing the service in order to save £60,000 from its budget.
If the services are reduced – as recommended by council officers – all pest control services apart from rodent control would be removed and the £10 charge for the treatment of rats in domestic premises would quadruple to £40, with a concessionary charge of £20 for those on income related benefits. It would also result in two redundancies from a team of five. However a third option has also been put forward for the service to remain as it is.
A councillor has warned the town could return to the ‘slum conditions of Victorian times’ if the service is scrapped.
Janet Jackson, Labour councillor for Macclesfield Central ward, said: “I’m really concerned about the job losses – it is just another council services cut leading to a staff cut. I don’t think pest control is a service that should be cut, vermin is a serious problem.”
She added: “A lot of people may not qualify for benefits but are still counting every penny and may not report a problem if they are frightened of the cost. And if it’s not reported, the infestation could spread and cause problems for neighbours.
“I am worried this would lead us back to the dreadful slum conditions of Victorian times.”
David Kent, secretary of Chelford Residents Association, said: “Most of the people in our area are pensioners on limited incomes and to suddenly find the price has doubled is not very responsible.”
Craig Nicholson, branch secretary for public service union Unison in Cheshire East, said: “I think when people are struggling economically it’s a difficult situation.
“We never like to see job losses but at some point we have to look at other options because of the cost.”
Councillor Les Gilbert, cabinet member for communities, said: “We take our duties on pest control very seriously and will continue to do so.
“However, we also have to consider whether we can justify the cost of our existing in-house service for the treatment of some pests when this service is offered by the private sector. If we opt to reduce the service, we will remain committed to tackling rodent infestation through providing treatments and exercising our enforcement powers.”
The proposals will be discussed at a council meeting for communities on Monday, July 13.
●● Andy Brooks inside the former factory that he hopes to turn into a roller skating rink, play centre with climbing facilities, multi-use sports area and community centre