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Liberal Democrats push for extra funds to keep city spaces clean


By Ben Comber


Cambridge Guildhall is the location for this weekends abseil. Picture Keith Heppell
Cambridge Guildhall is the location for this weekends abseil. Picture Keith Heppell

Cleaner city streets and more environmental patrols in the city should be the focus for the upcoming year, according to Cambridge's Liberal Democrat group.

They are proposing that Cambridge City Council should provide more funding for the upkeep of public spaces in this year’s budget, including better supervision of the set-up and take-down of events on open spaces to avoid surface damage.

The Labour-run council will increase council tax next week by £5 for a band D home – the maximum allowed without a referendum. The budget is balanced but the Liberal Democrats are saying £130,000 of efficiency savings should be reinvested in services.

Lib Dem deputy leader, Cllr Zoe O’Connell said: “It’s vital the council recognises that we live in a growing, increasingly 24/7 city. Streets and public spaces just get dirtier, facilities get more wear and tear over longer hours.

“Although more efficiency is great, the old, same levels of service – just done more cheaply – aren’t enough. We need to reinvest what we save and do a better job”.

The Lib Dems are also pushing to increase council tax payable on empty properties, pilot a self-green energy scheme, postpone the council’s plan to introduce charges to Shopmobility, and invest £8million of council reserves into 29 existing homes that would be let to key workers.

They also want to see a refurbishment of the public toilets on Jesus Green and look into underground waste storage, as is done at Eddington, in other areas of the city.

Lib Dem group leader Cllr Tim Bick said: “We are bringing some stark choices to the council this year. It’s really a question of priorities and making good use of council resources that are already available. We don’t think it’s the time to save money from the effort to keep our public spaces clean.

“We want to put the idle £8million the council is sitting on to work to provide housing in the city for public sector workers at a living rent.

“And we want to get started on tackling the serious problem of air pollution by influencing driver behaviour. And there’s more besides.”

The city council’s budget will be decided next Thursday (February 22).



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