CUTS have been on the tip of everyone’s tongues for months. Now what they mean is becoming clearer for the people of Sheffield. The Star took to the streets to find out what people think about some of the proposals. Richard Marsden reports.
PARKS CAR PARK CHARGES
INTRODUCTION of charges at Hillsborough Park’s car park is a bone was contention.
Fees are to be introduced there and at Endcliffe, Graves and Millhouses parks car parks as part of the council’s efforts to balance the budget.
But Carol Baker, aged 52, a school cook who lives in Wadsley, said: “I use the car park once a week when I come down with my grandson, Jay.
“I think it’s really rubbish that they are putting charges on - surely there are other ways of finding the money that needs to be cut.”
Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “The cheeky buggers! I come down to use this car park because my daughter plays football for a team which trains here. It’s going to be a real downer if you have to pay. I also park here to go to the library and visit the shops.
“I think charges will put people off using the park. It seems you have to pay for everything now when they get enough money off you in taxes.”
But not everyone is unhappy.
The charges are supported by Hillsborough Forum, which is concerned about people using the park car park to leave their car while going to work in the suburb - taking spaces from park users.
ON-STREET PARKING CHARGES
INCREASING charges for on-street car parking is an unpopular move - with traders fearing the extra fees could put off customers.
Mike Brownhill, of Brownhill’s Electrical, on Middlewood Road, Hillsborough, moved to the area six years ago after previously having a stall on Castle Market.
Some streets in the suburb already have pay-and-display parking and it is to be expanded to most of the area later in the year. Although the council is to keep the first 15 minutes of parking free of charge, charges for longer stays will increase from 20 pence to 40 pence per hour.
Mr Brownhill said: “Shopping areas are already struggling and a lot of damage has already been done. Not as many people come shopping as they used to. I think the extra charges will put people off because they want to be able to leave their cars and nip into shops.
“We already have a reduced number of spaces and an area that used to be marked as a loading bay, where customers would leave their cars for a short period, has been marked with double-yellow lines. These extra charges will make everyone struggle more.”
CUTS TO PCSO FUNDING
THEY’VE been described as the “friendly face of policing” by some - but, to others, Police Community Support Officers are ineffective due to their limited powers.
Sheffield Council plans to stop funding 25 of the 140 who work in the city alongside regular bobbies to save £500,000 each year.
But it says it is working with police on plans to merge PCSOs with City Centre Ambassadors - numbers of which are being reduced from 20 to 15 - and Sheffield Homes’ wardens to create a “single uniformed presence” alongside the police.
The Star found little enthusiasm among the general public for PCSOs, introduced by Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett when he was Home Secretary. They act as eyes and ears for the police but do not have the power of arrest.
Businessman Mehmet Konukcu, aged 42, who runs the Alara bed and breakfast on Penistone Road, Hillsborough, said: “I don’t think they are going to be missed because you hardly ever see them. They don’t have enough powers either. More proper police should have been created instead.”
Becca Quayle, landlady of the Freemasons Arms, on Walkley Lane, Hillsborough Corner, added: “We see PCSOs walking past on matchdays when Wednesday are at home but I don’t think that having less of them will make much of a difference.”
But Mr Blunkett said: “They are the eyes and ears of the community and I think their loss will be a major problem for neighbourhoods around Sheffield.”
CUTS TO PARK RANGERS
PARK rangers are to be reduced from 22 to 16 but Sheffield Council has pledged that parks across the city will continue to be maintained.
However there was scepticism among people in Hillsborough Park about whether standards will remain the same once the staff reductions have taken place.
Keith Vickers, aged 57, of Hilsborough, said: “This park is well-looked after but things are going to get worse. Nobody wants to see cuts and there is too much being saved at once. Every conversation seems to be about Government cuts.
“I come to the park regularly, daily in the summer, and think it is great but if you have less staff to look after it, it will not stay the same.”
Lee Colechin, 41, of Fir Vale, said: “I would say they should not cut anything and put taxes up instead. I come here fishing most days and the park could do with improvements rather than cuts. For example, the only toilet, which is near the play area, is often closed.”
Sheffield Council leader Coun Paul Scriven said: “We will not be compromising the core quality of parks.”
CUTS TO MARKETS
MARKET traders told how they will be faced with hundreds of pounds of extra costs each month after Sheffield Council decided a discount should be axed for traders in Castle Market in the city centre.
They have had to pay reduced rent while waiting for development of the new market on The Moor - which has still not been built - as compensation for reduced customers and the poor state of the building.
But, after March, the discount is going to end.
Ian Bingham, who runs Bingham and Brown Fruit and Veg, and is vice president of Castle Market traders’ federation, said: “The whole market will be hit and many traders could close.
“It will cost my stall £500 a month.
“We are very worried about the future of our businesses. There is still no sign of the new market materialising and it makes me wonder whether this council actually wants a new market.”