Animal World WILL be closed
ONE of Bolton’s best-loved attractions will close as part of massive council cuts.
Town Hall bosses have announced Animal World at Moss Bank Park will be shut down, along with a raft of other money-saving measures.
These include all park ranger posts removed, a reduction in full-time grass cutting posts, less street sweepers and fewer area forum meetings.
Cllr Nick Peel, executive cabinet member for environment, said: “Due to government cuts in funding, the council must make cuts.
“We recognise that residents will be concerned about the proposed closure of Animal World and the removal of rangers from the parks, but we have taken the difficult decision to remove these services, rather than make further cuts to street cleaning and grass cutting.”
There is no specific time-scale for the closure of Animal World.
It was revealed in April that the attraction was under threat and now, following a period of consultation, the council has approved plans for closure.
Earlier attempts to axe the popular Animal World “mini zoo” were scrapped in 2011 following a campaign to save it.
An action group was formed by local residents and a charge was introduced for visitors, along with increased use of volunteers.
But even with these improvements the facility is still costing the council £80,000 each year to run.
A council spokesperson said: “The council does not feel it can be retained at the expense of further reductions in cleansing, grass cutting and other essential services.”
The closure of Animal World comes as the neighbourhood and regulatory services department aims to cut spending by £1.3 million.
The cuts are part of wider efforts to reduce spending by more than £43 million — this comes on top of £60 million savings made since 2010.
Street cleaning schedules will see larger areas of the borough cleaned less frequently — there will also be a reduction in the number of large sweepers and pavement sweepers, removing a total of 18 vehicles from the service.
There will be a reduction in the number of full time grass cutting posts, but there will be an increase in the number of seasonal positions in order to meet demand — however this will mean there will be less staff to deal with winter tasks.
A council spokesman said: “Whilst the rangers provide a range of services to the public — if these posts were retained, further reductions in cleanliness would be required.”
It had originally been proposed that the department would cut 31 posts but this has now been reduced to 28.
There will be no compulsory redundancies. Instead, some vacant posts will not be filled and staff who retire will not be replaced.
The department will continue to deliver statutory functions such as street cleansing, maintenance of parks and open spaces, food hygiene and health and safety.
Bolton Council has also agreed proposals to save £200,000 from community safety, neighbourhood management and area working budgets.
It will reduce the number of area co-ordinators and site-based community safety officers.
This will lead to a reduction in the number of area forums from three times a year to twice a year — but the current number of 18 areas will be maintained.
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