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Plans to axe wardens who patrol Lincoln's commons are criticised

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

Devalued? Lincoln's South Common

Comments (6)

Plans to axe wardens who patrol Lincoln's commons have been criticised by a national pressure group.

The City of Lincoln Council has announced proposals to cut the service as it looks to reduce its budget by around £3 million by 2016-17.

But the Open Spaces Society has criticised the plans and says losing the wardens would devalue the city's commons.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said: "Lincoln's commons are of exceptional importance, extensive green spaces close to the heart of the city which have remained relatively unspoilt for centuries.

"They provide inspiration and recreation for Lincoln's residents and workers and the council should treasure these unique assets.

"We are dismayed to learn of the council's plan to axe the warden service.

"This, at relatively modest cost, ensures the commons are well managed, safe places for people to enjoy, clear of crime and litter.

"The service is a vital investment – without it, the commons would deteriorate and become unpleasant places which people no longer wish to visit, whereas at present they are something in which the city can take pride.

"We have told the council that such a cut would be shooting itself in the foot."

The council says that the closure of the service would save £38,000 a year.

Members of the society and the Lincoln Commons Advisory Panel have written to the council to object to the plans.

Miriam Smith, a member of the society and of the commons advisory panel, said: "The Lincoln commons are important open-air public assets within the city boundary and must be cared for.

"Since his appointment, the Commons Warden has done valuable work in improving the infrastructure and safety of the commons.

"Although some of this work may continue, it will be much more difficult without a man on the ground."

Ric Metcalfe, Leader of the council said: "The latest round of Government cuts have forced the council into some tough decisions.

"The decision to remove the commons warden service was not one that was taken lightly, given the choice, the council would not be making any of the proposed cuts in its budget.

"The Open Spaces Society should really be making their representations to Government who are the real culprits for the council being unable to continue this excellent service"

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  • Bolshie  |  February 21 2013, 7:54PM

    I agree Lincoln_Fan - can't see any reason to that one at all. Maybe a councillor or council employee has an interest in seeing through the resurfacing folly? I've just had a quick flick through the 11/12 accounts and 12/13 budget plan and note this council has 17 employees on 50-150K pa, and the top 4 alone cost us just short of £500K pa. Add to that money spent on their offices, cars, personal assistants, IT support, consultants..... and it is clear to me that the real drain on resources in the City is the CEOs office and that of his cronies, not a couple of wardens looking after a public space. At present they have a CEO and 3 Directors - Resources, Housing & Community Services, Development & Environmental Services. Makes sense to me for one person to head up Housing, Community, Development and Environment since the first two should account for most of the activity in the other two. Getting shot of the Mayors car would save £20K pa, selling off the Heritage Vehicle Fleet would pay for 3 park wardens for years to come - the council provides public services and is not a private motor museum.

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  • Lincoln_Fan  |  February 21 2013, 1:17PM

    And yet the Council spend £400,000.00 of our money resurfacing a car park which is scheduled for demolition.

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  • Bolshie  |  February 21 2013, 9:43AM

    @ WhistlingD - I disagree with you; I believe Mr Metcalfe is many things, 'right' is never one of them. This is a local authority financial management issue not a core political problem. The council must spend less - this is paying the piper for economic mis-management over the last 20 years and a pill that must be swallowed. Mr Metcalfe chooses to turn it into a party politics matter by chopping at those things that are publically sensitive and blaming the government. I agree with rick29 - it won't take more than a cursory glance to find someone employed by the City Council on £50K plus in a 'non-job' that it would be entirely acceptable to the whole public - regardless of the political party they support - to cut instead. The mantra should be 'reducing the cost of government - not services to taxpayers' and no service should be cut until the management aspect of council itself is running efficiently at absolutely minimum cost.

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  • rick29  |  February 21 2013, 9:19AM

    scrap the 1.5million there giving the plastic plods that have no power. let the police employ them as special constables instead which is voluntary. and how many pen pushers does the council employ on over 50k a year to that dont actually do anything

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  • paper  |  February 21 2013, 8:31AM

    Cut a few of those traffic wardens in Lincoln & use their wages to pay for these! Simples!

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  • WhistlingD  |  February 21 2013, 7:50AM

    Mr Metcalfe is right....this is exactly what all the people who voted Tory were voting for....and there will be a lot worse to come.

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