Extra cash likely to help clean up town
STREET cleaning in Swindon is set to receive a cash boost in the proposed budget for 2014/15, which will mark a return to pre-2010 levels of funding according to Coun Derique Montaut (Lab, Liden, Eldene & Park South).
The councillor said the £132,000 earmarked for street cleaning in the town centre was a big step forward for regeneration in the town and the future of shops in the main business district.
The large sum is of particular relevance to Coun Montaut, who has campaigned for cleaner streets for years, with attention on the levels of chewing gum in the town centre.
He said: “I am pleased and welcome this new move to invest more in keeping our town centre clean.
“It is widely recognised that the town centre has a reputational importance to the town as a whole, so having a dirty and untidy town centre is not good for the image of Swindon.
“That was why I opposed cuts that were made to street cleaning in the town centre over the last three years and that is why I have been pushing for action on keeping the town centre clean since the turn of the year.
“I had been made aware by officers that they were thinking of doing this earlier this year and I was keen on more investment for the cleaning of the town centre. I still think moving forward we should seek to get the companies who profit from products that litter our town centre to contribute money towards the cleaning up of the mess.
“That was why I met with Wrigleys earlier in the year to see whether they would contribute funding toward cleaning chewing gum of the streets. However they weren’t prepared to do that at this stage. But nonetheless this additional council investment in street cleaning is very much welcome.”
The budget is yet to be ratified, but Coun Richard Hurley (Con, Covingham & Dorcan), cabinet member for public protection, housing and StreetSmart, has welcomed the funding increase and does not envisage wide ranging changes to the figure.
“It’s been finalised, but I’m not 100 per cent sure it’s signed and sealed,” he said.
He also said Coun Montaut’s campaigning for having the street’s cleared of chewing gum were not the only reason for the increase in budget allocation.
He said: “It’s not really the only reason. We take everybody’s opinion into account, but he’s said his bit and we have taken it on board.
“I wouldn’t say it was because of him. It was always going to be happening, and it was just a case of as and when.”
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