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Public consultation launches on Cardiff Council’s budget proposals

Cardiff Council

GETTING rid of public bins on residential streets and reducing street cleansing work are just some of the budget proposals Cardiff Council will ask residents in the city about from next week.

The public consultation on the local authority’s 2024/25 budget will go live on Monday January 8 and close on Sunday February 4.

Key proposals that the council is looking at to help it close a £30m budget gap, and meet what one councillor has called a “financial storm”, include collecting black bin bags once every three weeks and charging for garden waste.

However, there were numerous others in the budget consultation document published on Tuesday January 2 that also stood out.

Here is a look at some of those in further detail.

Public bins and cleaning streets

The council plays a huge part in keeping Cardiff’s streets clean and tidy and doing so takes out a sizeable chunk of the local authority’s budget.

Cardiff Council currently spends £6.25m on street cleansing and it is now proposing to reduce the frequency of work it carries out in this department.

It is looking at reducing the amount of work done cleaning streets and parks, emptying litter bins and doing targeted cleansing in some inner city areas.

According to the consultation document published this week, the council could save £880,000 through doing this.

There are about 3,000 public bins across Cardiff. The council could remove public bins from residential streets.

It said if this were to go ahead, it would instead focus on placing bins in city and district centres, parks, bus stops and dog walking routes.

To justify its proposal, the council said many bins on residential streets aren’t used enough and that they attract fly-tipping.

Removing bins from residential streets in the city could save £139,000 per year.

Hubs and libraries 

Libraries across the city could have more restricted opening times and use more volunteers to save money in the next financial year.

Cardiff Council has tabled a number of options in terms of opening times for hubs and libraries in the public consultation.

One option proposes closing eight hubs and libraries for one additional day each week.

These include Central Library Hub, Whitchurch Hub, Penylan Library, Rhiwbina Hub, Rhydypennau Hub, Canton Library, Cathays Heritage Library and Radyr Hub. This would save £308,000.

Another option put to residents is for those hubs and libraries, apart from Penylan Library, to change their opening hours to 9am to 5pm, with all branches staying open throughout lunchtime.

To allow for late accessibility, Central Library Hub would stay open until 6pm for one evening a week. This would save £120,000.

Other options include:

  • Close Radyr Hub, Rhiwbina Hub, Whitchurch Hub, Penylan Library and Rhydypennau Hub on Saturdays, saving £33,600
  • Close Rhiwbina Hub, Whitchurch Hub, Penylan Library and Rhydypennau Hub on a Saturday afternoon, saving £14,000
  • Keep the hub and library service as it is, and find the saving elsewhere

Culture and events

There were a number major money saving proposals put forward by Cardiff Council last year that were related to culture and events, one of which included bringing in a new operator for St David’s Hall.

For the next financial year, the council is looking at removing the funding it provides for Artes Mundi and The Big Gig.

The local authority currently spends about £36,000 per year subsidising these events.

Cardiff Council is one of the three core partners of Artes Mundi, a leading UK art exhibition, alongside the Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales.

The Big Gig is a music competition for musicians in south Wales. Previous winners of the competition have gone on to perform at Swn Festival and Glastonbury.

Mansion House on Richmond Crescent could also be leased to a third party which could help fund its maintenance and repairs bill.

The council said the income currently generated from the Grade II-listed building, which is used to host civic and corporate events, is not enough to fund the investment it needs.

Whilst work continues to find an alternative location for the Museum of Cardiff, the council is proposing to reduce the cost of running the museum by closing it one day a week.

Proposals to turn the museum, currently located at The Old Library on The Hayes, into a mobile attraction last year attracted a lot of criticism.

Parks, leisure and sport

The council is looking at having fewer park rangers and making a reduction to the maintenance of parks and green spaces.

Park rangers are responsible for the enforcement of park by-laws and work with partner organisations such as the police to address the issues of anti-social behaviour.

Cardiff Council is proposing to reduce the number of park rangers it has by four.

The plan marks a change from the expansion of the park rangers team which has happened at the council in recent years.

An additional six rangers were added to the team over the past three years. By reducing the number of rangers by four, the council could save £168,000.

A total of £1.3m is spent on maintaining Cardiff’s 520 parks and green spaces.

The council said in its budget consultation document that making small reductions to the maintenance of parks and green spaces could save it £80,000.

Residents will be asked their opinion on a proposal to transfer the running of Cardiff Riding School to a new operator.

The council, which runs and subsidises the riding school at Pontcanna Fields, said it would need to scope out interest first.

However, the premises would continue to operate during this time.