Green Flag accolade to be axed for Peterborough’s parks in cost savings drive
The prestigious Green Flag could soon cease to fly above Peterborough parks in a £60,000 cost saving move by councillors.
Applications for the coveted national standard of excellence are to be banned as part of a raft of proposed money saving measures by Peterborough City Council.
Council chiefs are desperately looking for ways to bridge a £17.8 million funding gap in the council’s budget in a two phase spending review that will go on into the spring.
Ironically, news of the proposal broke as it was announced that Peterborough’s Central Park, Itter Park and Manor Farm Park in Eye had all been confirmed as having retained the much sought-after accolade.
Winning the Green Flag award marks the parks out as some of the best open spaces in the country.
At the same time, the council is also considering proposals to stop spring and summer planting in the council’s parks and open spaces.
Councillor Andy Coles, who is the council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “The additional costs of making sure we reach Green Flag status is significant - nearly £60,000.
“And if we can come up with a way of dealing with this other than through council expenditure - for example, if there was some sort of voluntary group that would be prepared to get involved in planting, then of course we would look at it.
“But unless we find this money elsewhere we do need to save these sort of sums of money.
He added: “This is the first of many difficult decisions that we are going to have to make and which will have an obvious impact that people will be able to see.”
Other cuts that are likely to catch the eye of city residents are reducing the frequency of pavement washing in the city centre to once a year, the removal of the dedicated cleansing hit squad with fly tipping and litter accumulations to be collected by the street cleaning crews as part of their rounds.
The Annual Spring Clean which provides additional cleansing of targeted areas of the city will also be stopped.
Cllr Coles said: “The simple fact is we have to make savings everywhere.
“This is one of the more difficult ones in phase one - no doubt we will have equally difficult decisions to make in phase two
“These small changes will provide quite a significant amount of savings but of course will impact.
“For example, in terms of fly tipping, it’s gong to be picked in the usual bin lorries going round. There might be a delay in terms of pick up and people are going to notice that.
“But that will save us £73,000 - so these are not insignificant sums we are talking about.
“Again, I wish we didn’t have to remove the Spring Clean but that will save us £80,000 - it is a significant amount of money that we save.
“All these things are additional to what our requirements are in terms of collecting waste and so on.
“No longer cleansing the city centre will save £10,000 - inevitably it is not gong to be looking quite as clean and pristine as it is - but we are going to have to face up to those sort of problems.
He added: “If we can find alternative ways of doing these things or if we can find savings elsewhere we will because these are the sort of things we want to maintain to ensure the city centre is a place that people want to visit.”