AN ILKLEY councillor says budget cuts by Bradford Council to street cleansing services will have a ‘sharp impact’ on Ilkley.

The Council plans to cut £1million from the street cleansing budget in 2019/2020. The move will see the loss of 25 front line staff and five fewer mechanical sweepers out cleaning the streets. It will also see street cleaning services merge with parks services to “ensure greater efficiency”.

Bradford Council says it is planning to “transform” its services to better handle the cuts, but councillors have expressed concerns over the changes.

A report sent to Bradford’s five area committees said: “The Street Cleaning budget is currently £4.7m. The service is having to save over £1m in 2019/2020 with a reduction in staffing and vehicles. Work is ongoing with the trade unions to redesign the service within the reduced financial envelope.”

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) said when the matter was discussed at the last Keighley Area Committee it was suggested Ilkley would have cleansing once a week, which she says is inadequate in a visitor town.

Cllr Hawkesworth said: “I suggested he went back to the drawing board and reconsidered his plans. Irrespective of the final outcome a visitor town hoping to attract people in in order to maintain a vibrant centre needs clean streets and pleasant surroundings such as parks etc. There is only so much Bradford Council can expect volunteers, such as the Friends of Riverside Park, to do.

“The proposed budget (for street cleaning services) appears to me to be heading towards an abyss. The changes and reduction could have a sharp impact on an already difficult area.

“The added resources put in by Ilkley residents through the parish rate are probably going to be even more. It is however also essential that the additional resources, already put in through the Town Council, are used effectively and maybe the principle used at moment needs reviewing.”

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “Due to on-going financial pressures, increased demands, and rising costs, priority activities across the Council will continue to see budget reductions and will have to be run differently. This includes the street cleansing service which will need to deliver budget savings for 2019/20.

“While a significant redesign of how the service is operated will be required in response to the reduction in budget, all efforts will be made to maximise productivity and efficiency and we will continue to have a daily presence in Ilkley.”