Cleaning Neath Town Centre
Cllr Peter Rees explains....
In answer to the queries concerning cleansing resources in Neath I can advise that resources in the town have changed little over recent years. We did many years ago have a team of five looking after the town and outlying areas but for some years now this has been a team of four. The reduction was offset by the introduction of a small sweeper which enhanced the pedestrian type sweeper previously used.
Typically a town centre day would be as follows:
Two of the team would spend the whole of the day in the town centre, one with a hand cart and the other generally on the sweeper, accepting that the sweeper is generally restricted in activity prior to 10.30a.m due to parked vehicles. The other team members are generally covering outlying areas. Both the town centre and outlying operatives may be called upon to assist each other.
On town cleaning in general, Cllr Rees adds:
When Neighbourhood Services was originally created in 2005 extra funding was allocated to enhance services and during 2006/07 some of this funding was utilised to hire a contractor to remove gum from the pedestrianized areas of both Neath and Port Talbot town centres. With the continued financial pressures ever since, the additional budgets were not sustainable and in more recent years, as with many areas across the Council, budgets in Streetcare Services have been subject to reductions as part of the Council's Forward Financial Plan in order to keep within reducing Local Government funding. The operation of removing gum has therefore not been repeated since.
We do have a "Grimebuster" vehicle which has been used more in the Neath area than other areas over the last 12 months. This vehicle has a heavy duty pressure washer fitted, designed for the removal of graffiti, flyposting etc. and although capable of removing some gum, it is not entirely effective and is not ideal on block paving as it can also remove sand from between and under the paviors.
Whilst the authority does have a duty to keep streets clean within certain guidelines, how this is achieved does not necessarily involve cleaning up after others and ultimately it is those members of the public who have total disregard for theie local area that are creating the mess. With this in mind, we are developing further awareness and prevention campaigns to be actioned later this year utilising "Tidy Towns" grant funding. The detail has not yet been agreed but it is proposed that gum in town centres of Neath, Port Talbot and Pontardawe will be targeted alongside other issues such as dog fouling.
I hope that this information is helpful and I will keep you updated when further information is received.