City of Lincoln Council approves £1m service cuts

The urban rangers and Commons warden jobs will be axed along with the city’s sports development services, City of Lincoln councillors agreed on Monday night.

The council decided to withdraw the services by early July in order to make nearly £1 million in savings this year, and £3 million by 2017/18.

The Executive rejected a recommendation from its Policy Scrutiny Committee to merge the two services to provide some cover for the city’s open spaces, saying this would not deliver an effective service or the necessary savings.

The Policy Scrutiny Committee was swayed by a petition to keep the urban rangers signed by 1,200 local people, who argued anti-social behaviour and littering will increase in the city’s green spaces without the rangers.

Removing the three urban rangers posts will save the council £383,000 over the next five years, plus another £157,000 by axing the Commons wardens post.

The Commons Advisory Panel will now look at how it could co-ordinate volunteers with a view to setting up a watch scheme for the commons.

Closure of the sports development service will save a further £400,000. The team manages events such as the Lincoln 10K and Dance Factor, but the council assured it will find ways of continuing the events.

Members also confirmed the end of the Ward Budget scheme in which each of the 33 councillors was able to spend £1,000 on community projects in their ward.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, City of Lincoln Council Leader, said: ““These are decisions which nobody here wanted to have to take but we have been left with no option by the cuts in government funding.”

““We are left with the stark choice of doing fewer things but doing those well, and we can no longer make the necessary savings without impacting on services.

“”We share people’s concerns but our anti-social behaviour team and other communities staff and volunteers will continue to liaise with the police to ensure people can safely enjoy the city’s open spaces.

““We hope voluntary groups and organisations will be able to support them in monitoring those areas,” Councillor Metcalfe added.

As previously reported, other measures for the City Council to balance its books include a new £25 per year fee to collect green garden waste recycling bins, stop subsidising the Walk and Ride service, changes to CCTV staffing arrangements and cuts to the Lincoln Drill Hall grant.