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Cash-strapped BCP Council suggests closing splash parks

Turning off street lights, closing paddling pools and opening the tip less days are some of the money-saving ideas being considered by a council.

Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council has made the suggestions to balance its books - a legal requirement for local authorities.

It has a budget shortfall next year of £44m.

It has announced a public consultation running until the week before Christmas on how it can save money.

Four paddling pools, known locally as splash parks, at the Quomps in Christchurch, Redhill Park, Littledown and Hamworthy Park could be shut, unless local groups or town councils want to take on the costs of maintenance.

The ideas include reducing opening hours of some libraries and shutting Christchurch recycling centre on Sundays and Mondays.

Street light
Poole lights were chosen because the streetlights in Bournemouth and Christchurch cannot be controlled remotely

BCP Council also mentioned the prospect of turning off streetlights in Poole overnight.

The town was chosen because the streetlights in Bournemouth and Christchurch cannot be controlled remotely.

School crossing patrols, often known as lollipop men and women, could be replaced with zebra crossings.

The council leader, Liberal Democrat Vikki Slade, said cutting services was difficult but necessary to make sure the council could fulfil its legal roles.

She said: "These savings are difficult, every single pound saved is a job lost, an efficiency or a cut to service.

"These are visible things, which we try to do but don't have to legally.

"We have to cut back services to levels where they are sustainable long-term."

Ms Slade highlighted how the demand for services has impacted the council's budget.

She added: "I wrote to the Chancellor yesterday with the leaders of Portsmouth, Southampton and Isle of Wight asking for a fairer funding settlement in his Autumn Statement.

"We have lobbied the government for months now, every opportunity we can, to help our funding. For every £100 of council tax, £70 is going on social care.

"A typical street of 100 houses covers the cost of looking a single child in a residential care home. This funding problem needs to be sorted."

The Autumn Statement will be delivered by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt tomorrow.

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