Crunchtime for Thornbury street care
THE FATE of Thornbury's street care will be placed in the hands of taxpayers next month.
Townspeople will be asked what they wish to see their council pay for after South Gloucestershire Council announced it would stop funding all 'extra' services currently delivered to towns and parishes, including planting floral displays, providing and emptying dog bins, and reduce the frequency of grass cutting next year in a bid to save £43 million.
Thornbury Town Council will launch a consultation in September inviting locals to express which services they would not be prepared to give up on and those they could potentially do without.
Each town and village in the region will have the opportunity to "buy back" some of the services from South Gloucestershire, meaning they will have to pay more for the very same provision they used to receive.
The cuts will also affect grass cutting of highway verges, the maintenance of highway hedges and roundabouts and weed spraying.
This could force the town council to raise council tax to take over the services themselves, pay South Gloucestershire Council's street scene team to continue delivering them, or just give them up altogether.
Leaders will then collate the information and decide how to proceed, which maintenance services to keep funding and whether raising council tax would be necessary in light of the town's feedback.
Cllr Matthew Stringer, a member of the town council's street care working party, said a form would be available to all residents complete with maps identifying where the local authority currently cuts grass and provides dog bins. A number of options will be put to them, inviting their suggestions to establish residents' priorities.
"The working party has been meeting the community and we are now going to consult with the town on the changes and the matter of changes to the council tax next year," he said.
"We will be asking people what option they prefer and we will then come back to South Gloucestershire Council."
The consultation may even enable some improvements to be made, as residents will be invited to suggest more adequate spots for dog bins and identify which are actually being used by dog walkers.
The overhaul is expected to help the local authority make savings of around £350,000 across the region.
It will also, South Gloucestershire Council bosses said, unify provision and ensure that all towns and villages received the same services, no more no less.
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