No money in bay bud­get to fix pot­holes

Herald Express - - Front Page - BY ED OLD­FIELD

POT­HOLES could be left open un­der bud­get cuts planned for Tor­bay next year.

The sav­ings could also re­sult in chil­dren’s play equip­ment taped off in­stead of re­paired, grass cut only three times a year, and less plant­ing of flow­ers.

Mean­while, stretches of roads with free on-street park­ing could see me­ters in­tro­duced, along with new pay-and-dis­play car parks. Those are among the pos­si­ble re­sults of sav­ings and changes to ser­vices pro­vided by Tor­bay Coun­cil’s place teams out­lined in the fine print of the mayor’s pro­posed bud­get for next year. The road main­te­nance bud­get, cur­rently only enough to re­act to main­te­nance prob­lems across Torquay, Paign­ton and Brix­ham, is set to fall by £320,000 from £2.1 mil­lion.

In Oc­to­ber mayor Gor­don Oliver re­vealed the back­log in high­ways re­pairs in Tor­bay had risen to more than 500 roads which need resur­fac­ing at a cost of more than £20m.

Else­where, it is pro­posed to cut £7,000 from the £74,000 an­nual play­grounds bud­get.

POT­HOLES could be left open un­der bud­get cuts planned for Tor­bay next year.

The sav­ings could also re­sult in chil­dren’s play equip­ment taped off in­stead of re­paired, grass cut only three times a year, and less plant­ing of flow­ers. Mean­while stretches of roads with free on-street park­ing could see me­ters in­tro­duced, along with new pay-and-dis­play car parks.

Those are among the pos­si­ble re­sults of sav­ings and changes to ser­vices pro­vided by Tor­bay Coun­cil’s place teams out­lined in the fine print of the mayor’s pro­posed bud­get for next year.

The road main­te­nance bud­get, cur­rently only enough to re­act to main­te­nance prob­lems across Torquay, Paign­ton and Brix­ham, is set to fall by £320,000 from £2.1 mil­lion.

The bud­get re­port warns: “The High­ways main­te­nance bud­get is only suf­fi­cient to cover re­ac­tive re­pairs and, due to the re­duc­tion in in­vest­ment into planned main­te­nance over pre­vi­ous years, these re­ac­tive costs are in­creas­ing year-on-year.

“A re­duc­tion to the high­ways bud­get of this size will po­ten­tially leave in­suf­fi­cient rev­enue fund­ing to carry out the level of re­ac­tive re­pairs ex­pected as the con­di­tion of the high­way net­work con­tin­ues to de­te­ri­o­rate.”

In Oc­to­ber mayor Gor­don Oliver re­vealed the back­log in high­ways re­pairs in Tor­bay had risen to more than 500 roads which need resur­fac­ing at a cost of more than £20m.

Else­where, the bud­get plan re­veals a pro­posal to cut £7,000 from the £74,000 an­nual play­grounds bud­get.

That is ex­pected to re­duce main­te­nance from rou­tine in­spec­tions of play equip­ment.

The re­port warns of the risk that “when the bud­get is ex- hausted any faulty equip­ment will need to be de­com­mis­sioned un­til al­ter­na­tive fund­ing can be iden­ti­fied”.

The bud­get pro­poses sav­ings £125,000 from con­tracts cov­er­ing nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment ser­vices and adds: “Grass might only be cut three times per year.”

It pro­poses rais­ing £5,000 by new on-street park­ing me­ters and pay-and-dis­play park­ing, but warns of “com­mu­nity re­sis­tance when park­ing charges are in­tro­duced in ar­eas where park­ing is cur­rently free.”

This year’s £100,000 il­lu­mi­na­tions bud­get is set to be cut by £30,000. Of­fi­cers will be seek­ing spon­sor­ship to cover some of the costs – along­side com­ing up with a dif­fer­ent way of pro­vid­ing the ser­vice out­side the street-light­ing bud­get.

It has al­ready been re­vealed a grant to next year’s Tor­bay Air Show would be scrapped un­der the pro­pos­als. But the mayor has given a com­mit­ment the show will go ahead, funded by in­come and spon­sor­ship.

The coun­cil is hav­ing to make £17m sav­ings by 2022, with £7.5m needed in the next fi­nan­cial year 2019-2020, due to re­duced govern­ment fund­ing.

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