Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The people vs the council


There are four months to go before Wrecsam Council starts its slash and burn approach to frontline services. We have already seen plans to close libraries, community centres, play area and cut school crossing patrols (regardless of their high-risk nature).
 Now the council plans to abandon most of its leisure provision, including closing Plas Madoc leisure centre and Waterworld with the "possibility" of opening a new swimming and gym facility on the Waterworld site. Other leisure facilities, such as the Queensway gym, would close and others would be given to schools to run - hitting their budgets.
 Schools are not immune from the cuts - despite a growing number of pupils, heads and governors are being asked to make cuts year on year.
 Similarly bus services to rural areas are being axed and already hard-pressed social services further pressurised.

 Very little, it seems, is escaping this axe. Except the chief executive, the mayor and the many layers of senior managers who seem immune to the cuts. Likewise, the Labour-independent-Tory coalition of councillors running the council hasn't thought to give up their £100,000 a year collective pay rise. There is inefficiency and waste at the top of the tree that isn't being tackled.

 Until now the resistance to these cuts has been localised and fragmented. It's been easy to dismiss protests to save a community centre in Whitegate, a library in Rhos, a school crossing patrol on the Holt Road.

 But now people understand the extent of what this council is doing - cutting the key services that we pay our taxes and Council Tax for - there is growing opposition.

 Facebook pages can be ephemeral things but Save Plas Madoc Leisure Centre  has gained 2023 followers in just a week. This group of local people and users of the pool and leisure facilities have also organised a snap protest tomorrow outside the Guildhall at 1.30pm - just before a scrutiny committee meeting discusses the proposed closures.

 Now's the time for people to show their anger with the council for all its short-sighted decisions and offloading of responsibilities.

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