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Secret Islington Council document reveals proposal for swingeing cuts: further details uncovered

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

Thursday, August 7, 2014
7:05 AM

A raft of dramatic cuts which look set to turn the lives of many residents upside-down has been proposed by Islington Council in a bid to save cash.

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In a 150-page strategic document entitled Future Shape to 2018, the town hall details a range of belt-tightening measures.

Here we look at the ones likely to have the most impact on people.

Libraries

Despite repeatedly promising not to close any libraries, both proposed plans for the future of book lending in the borough involve closure.

Option one would mean shutting Mildmay Library, in Mildmay Park, and Lewis Carroll Children’s Library, in Copenhagen Street, both in Islington, and John Barnes Library, in Camden Road, Holloway, which the document claims would have “minimal effect”.

The second proposal is to shut all libraries in the borough apart from Archway Library, in Highgate Hill, Archway, Central Library, in Fieldway Crescent, Highbury, Finsbury Library, in St John Street, Finsbury, and the N4 Library, in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, with book-swap points being set up in satellite locations.

Caroline Russell, Islington’s opposition Green Party member, said: “Closing these libraries seems so counter-productive. They are one place where young people, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, can go and get support.”

Services

Frontline services would take a big hit under the plans.

The Plusbus service, which provides free transport for pensioners, could be closed.

George Durack, chairman of Islington Pensioners Forum, said: “There would be an uproar. It’s massively important for our members and a fundamental service.”

Meanwhile Cally Pool, in Caledonian Road, Islington, would shut, along with the Anaconda Swimming Club for children. The council recently splashed out £350,000 of lottery cash on upgrading the swimming baths.

Rubbish could fill the streets as regular cleaning may be axed in favour of a “responsive” service – cleaning roads only when they are reported as dirty.

Park staff would be cut, meaning the borough’s green spaces will be left open 24 hours a day, leading to fears of drug users and gangs setting up camp in them.

The Ecology Centre, in Gillespie Park, would shut and the borough’s nature conservation teams would be disbanded.

Pat Tuson, from the Friends of Gillespie Park, said: “We would fight this tooth and nail and work like mad to stop this from happening.”

Safety could also be an issue as lollipop men and women would be withdrawn from school crossings, road safety support would be ended and cycle training staff would told to get on their bikes.

Redundancies would affect the antisocial behaviour, noise and pollution, trading standards and environmental health services.

Recycling

People living on estates would no longer have their recycling collected from their door, kitchen waste collection would be stopped and people would have to pay for green waste collection.

In addition, residents would have to pay to get rid of bulk waste, leading to fears of a fly-tipping epidemic.

Cllr Russell said the recycling cuts would mean the council having to pay more in landfill costs.

Parking

The council would increase the cost of pay-and-display parking tickets and residents’ permits.

Controlled hours would also be increased and traffic wardens allowed to make “stronger enforcement of existing measures”.

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