Four greenspace jobs could go as council plans to axe flower beds and halve parks maintenance

Gateshead Council is considering ways in which football pitches and bowling greens could be self-managed as part of £45 million cuts to the council's funds over the next two years.

It is looking at cutting more than half of the £193,000 maintenance budget for parks and sports fields, leading to four full-time job losses. It is also considering removing all flowerbeds from public areas with the exception of parks to save £20,000, a third of the ornamental budget.

A cabinet report by chief executive Jane Robinson and strategic director of finance and ICT Darren Collins said the council faced "exceptionally difficult financial circumstances" as a result of significant reductions in government funding and increasing demands.

The report said it was highly likely there would be a "significant number" of compulsory redundancies – 394 full-time roles in 2014-15 alone.

The council has already lost 1,275 staff and cut £75m of spending since 2010.

Among the ideas to be put before the council’s cabinet are pulling back on support for bowling greens and sports pitches and "reducing the current number of greens in use and the investigation of self-management models."

Reducing grass cutting and removing all flowerbeds from public areas with the exception of parks and stopping council support for community groups applying for funding.

The Labour-run authority will open a consultation on its budget plans for 2014-16 after the next cabinet meeting on Tuesday.


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