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Beaches and parks again facing cuts

By Herald Express  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

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PARKS, beaches and open spaces are again the target of the budget cuts.

But while the residents and visitors services department is facing a cut totalling £2.3million over the two years, this represents a 20 per cent saving over two years in the mayor's draft budget compared with average cuts of 25 per cent.

Chief executive Steve Parrock explained there are several discretionary services provided by this department.

He said: "This is one of the discretionary areas where they were determined to maintain as much funding as possible. They put great emphasis on tourism. They wanted to maintain our beaches, parks and visitor amenities."

The department is also expected to raise some £414,000 in increased income over the next two years, for example with more catering outlets and new beach huts.

Among the cuts are: natural environment, sports facilities and tree work faces a £30,000 cut next year, transferring leases to sports clubs is expected to save £50,000 next year in repairs, and £40,000 the year after.

Reduced grass cutting and flowerbed maintenance in parks and open spaces could save £50,000 next year and £20,000 the following year.

The CCTV service is facing a £140,000 cut over two years, with £20,000 cut next year. The aim is to set up a private company to deliver private work, and the council is already receiving approaches from private clients.

The service agreement with Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust is proposed to be cut by £50,000 a year with a warning the trust may not be able to deliver projects such as the further development of the Occombe Farm attraction.

The grant to the English Riviera Tourism Company is proposed to be cut by £15,000 next year and £85,000 the following year.

A reduction of £180,000 in the budget for the Tor2 joint venture company is proposed, with £160,000 cut next year and £19,500 the year after. Tor2 may not be able to achieve the reduction and consultation would be needed if this impacted any services.

Better use of parking wardens or reduced patrols is expected to save £70,000 next year. A reduction in enforcement of parking restrictions is forecast to save £40,000.

Introducing more parking charges in new areas of the Bay is expected to generate £50,00 in 2015/6. Reduced maintenance of on-street parking will save £20,000 in 2015/16.

The subsidies on Bay bus services could be reduced by £150,500 in 2015/6. The grant to the Acorn Centre at Barton could be cut by £51,500 in 2015/6. A reduction of £26,000 is proposed in a project to look at the future of sport in the Bay, with a £1,000 cut next year and £25,000 the year after.

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