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Half libraries in Islington to shut under secret council proposal

07:00 07 August 2014

The secret document reveals propsals to axe libraries and services in the borough

The secret document reveals propsals to axe libraries and services in the borough

Archant

Swimming pool to close, pensioner’s bus lost and lollipop patrols also face the axe in confidential document

What the proposals envisage:

closing five libraries; West, Mildmay, South, Lewis Carroll and John Barnes

closing Cally Pool

cutting the Plusbus service

cutting lollipop ladies and men

stopping regular street cleaning and only cleaning streets if they are reported as dirty

higher parking costs for pay-and-display and permits

longer pay and display hours and stronger traffic warden enforcement

stopping doorstep recycling on estates

charging for collection of bulky waste items

stopping kitchen waste collections

charging for green waste collections

leaving parks unlocked at night

closing the Ecology Centre

disbanding the Nature Conservation Team

stopping road safety support and cycle training

reducing staff in antisocial behaviour, noise and pollution, trading standards and environmental health services

A secret proposal to axe more than half the libraries in Islington, as well as closing Cally Pool and getting rid of pensioner lifeline the Plusbus service, has been leaked to the Gazette.

Street cleaning and recycling will be reduced, lollipop patrols will be given the boot, parking costs will rise and the Ecology Centre will be closed if the confidential Islington Council strategy is adopted.

The proposals, drawn up by senior town hall directors in a bid to deal with Government cuts – £95million over the next four years on top of £112m since 2010 – also suggests leaving parks open all night, stopping doorstep recycling and getting rid of road safety and cycle training.

In its first term, Islington’s ruling Labour group managed to avoid making headline-grabbing cuts partially by dipping into large reserves.

They promised libraries would not close and in this year’s budget pledged not to reduce frontline services.

Dishonest

Terry Stacy, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Islington South and Finsbury, said: “Labour have been totally two-faced. These plans were being drawn up as residents went to the polls, and Labour kept them quiet.

“Its nothing less then dishonest. Every resident in the borough seems to be lined up to suffer under these plans.

“We will see libraries closed, the closure of Cally Pool, our streets getting dirtier, our parks unkempt and neglected, crime and anti-social behaviour increasing, cyclists put at risk, recycling levels plummeting while Labour funds highly-paid spin doctors, propaganda and extra allowances for their councillors, flowers for their offices and their pet projects. Its a dark day for the borough”

Cllr Caroline Russell, Islington’s opposition Green Party member, said: “The timing doesn’t surprise me. I always thought there would be really huge cuts this year. The Islington elections are out of the way, and Labour can blame everything on the Government in the run up to the general election.

“To be fair, the council are in a really difficult situation, dealing with an unprecedented freeze in income.

“But we need to be looking at new ways of delivering public services. We need a shift in ideas. What thinking is going on behind the scenes?”

“These really are cuts beyond the bone, and they need to tread carefully.”

Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s executive member for finance at, said: “The fact that we are being forced to have this discussion about how to make yet more savings is the consequence of the Tory-led government’s huge and ongoing cuts to our borough.

“This document was put together by council managers for internal discussion and was never presented to politicians. We have not yet decided how to make the savings being forced upon us.

“Any actual proposals will be announced in advance of agreeing the budget and fully consulted on.”

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