Dog mess fears over planned cuts

Plans: From left, Liberal Democrat group leader Bill Shannon, John Potter and group member Neil Darby
Plans: From left, Liberal Democrat group leader Bill Shannon, John Potter and group member Neil Darby
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Cutting a pair of out-of-hours dog wardens will give “the green light to fouling”, opposition councillors have claimed.

The Liberal Democrat group on Preston Council has urged the ruling Labour group to reconsider proposals to cut the service to save £25,000 from its hard-hit budget.

They claim it will lose a deterrant at the time when most dog walkers are out.

But, the Labour group’s finance chief has said cuts to the amount handed to Preston the coalition Government, between the Conservative and Liberal Democrats, had left it with no alternative but to make savings.

Coun John Potter, the Liberal Democrats finance spokesman, said: “Preston will still have two dog wardens but everyone knows weekends, early mornings and evenings are when most dog walkers are out.

“It is when these out-of-hours wardens operate that the real problems occur and this is an issue which gets brought up time and time again with residents.

“Before this cover was introduced the council gave out three fixed penalty notices in three years, but we gave out nearly 40 in the first three months of these extra wardens being there.”

He accused the Labour group of “tinkering” of the city’s budget problems and said the Liberal Democrats will outline measures including merging departments with other councils, cutting the number of councillors and ending the monitoring of city centre CCTV.

It will also propose offering a £50,000 subsidy to offer free parking after 3pm in council-owned car parks, a fund to encourage more new homes to be built in the city and return to taking one per cent of the authority’s council tax to build up a pot to fund the city’s 2032 Guild.

But, Coun Martyn Rawlinson, the council’s cabinet member for resources, said the £570,000 saving the Liberal Democrat group claimed it could save from sharing services was “pie in the sky.”

He said: “The extra wardens were put in by the council’s (Conservative-Liberal Democrat) coalition a few years ago before Preston had two massive grant cuts under their own Government.”