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Planting meadows in Cambridge parks and cleaning public loos less often are in plans to save council money

By Ben Comber

Daisy meadow
Daisy meadow

The streets and open spaces team is aiming to save hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Cleaning public toilets less often, planting wildflower meadows instead of seasonal flowerbeds and charging to park at Lammas Land car park are all part of plans to deliver £600,000 net savings from frontline city council services.

These, and other plans, are to be discussed by councillors this week in efforts to make the city’s streets and open spaces more environmentally friendly and deliver better value for money.

Cllr Anna Smith, streets and open spaces head, said the plans will help make services more resilient in the face of central government austerity.

She said: “These proposals will ensure that the service is even more responsive to customers’ needs, greener and more efficient. This is especially important at a time when the city is expanding and demand for services is growing.

“We also need to adapt our approach to meet our environmental and climate change commitments.”

A review of public toilet use identified that 10 loos are ‘over-provided for’, and would be cleaned two or three times a day instead of four, saving the council £49,000 per year.

A grounds maintenance review, which has not happened since the late 1990s, could save a further £50,000 each year by having more ‘pictorial meadow’ planting, instead of the ornamental beds that get planted and stripped out twice a year. The meadows would require no watering, thereby being more environmentally friendly, and would increase wildlife value of parks.

Charging for parking at Lammas Land car park would bring in a forecasted £80,000 per year for the council, and a 32-tonne grab lorry has been purchased which will provide a £30,000 saving each year to the waste handling service, and target income of £10,000.

The council also proposes making an extra £40,000 per year by increasing fees for events on council land, although this would not mean more events would be held.


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