PLANS to hand over maintenance of Wirral’s parks and countryside services to the private sector are to be dramatically scaled back.
Wirral Council had hoped to save up to £10m over the next decade with its parks and countryside services procurement exercise.
However, new plans have seen the extent of the contract to be offered to private companies significantly reduced.
The original review included all of the Parks and Countryside service and the “streetscene” grounds maintenance contracts.
Bidders for the new contract will no longer be asked to take on buildings repair and renewal, including war memorials, or repair of paths, walls and fences in parks.
Also to be removed from the process will be Landican Crematorium and the Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm, along with schools grounds maintenance and beach lifeguard service.
The management of golf courses is also no longer part of the outsourcing plans, and the administration of allotments will instead be transferred to the council’s department of law, HR and asset management, following the decision by the cabinet.
Labour have already criticised the move, which they say was unfair because the council had ruled out the chance for in-house bids for the work.
Labour group leader Steve Foulkes said it was “privatisation for privatisation’s sake” and the savings would now be drastically reduced.
However, cabinet member for culture, Cllr David Elderton, said the authority hoped to also make savings in the services retained by the council, as well as those privatised.