Hundreds have say on Norwich City Council cuts

More than 600 people have so far had their say on how Norwich City Council should make a string of cuts to front-line services.

Families in the city have been asked to pick and choose from a list of almost �1m of proposed cuts to services, including plans which could see streets cleaned just once a month and the number of Christmas lights in the city slashed.

The council needs to make �4.6m in savings in the next financial year and last week launched a consultation over how to do it.

Officers are already looking to save �3.6m by becoming more efficient, new ways of working and cutting service costs, but made a direct appeal to the public to help find �600,000 worth of savings.

Through its Your Services, Your Say consultation, the council presented a list of �1m worth of cuts and asked the public to rank them in order of which services are most important and which deserve to be spared the axe.

Among the suggested cuts are only cleaning streets once a month, apart from a small number of city centre areas such as Prince of Wales Road, cut the number of Christmas lights in the city by a third, increasing the cost of burials from �518 to �630 and hiking the cost of renting an allotment.

Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council, said: 'It's terrific that we have had so many responses already and, as I have said all the way along, it is genuine consultation.

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'We want to hear from as many people as we possibly can.'

On top of the �600,000 savings on front-line services, the council says it can save more money through other changes to the way it works, including cutting opening hours of offices and closing neighbourhood offices.

But the Liberal Democrat group, which is planning to launch its own consultation, criticised the council's effort as being too restrictive.

Lib Dem leader Judith Lubbock said: 'We are critical of the council's attempt because of its limitations. It does not ask open-ended questions so we feel there is not the opportunity for members of the public to give their ideas.'

However, council officers say people can still email the council with their ideas, which they say will be listened to.

The eight-page document is published on-line at today and consultation runs until October 12. The cabinet will consider the responses on November 9 and use the results to prepare its budget for next February.

While paper copies will be available to those who request them, by calling 0344 980 3333.

The council hopes to save money by not sending them out to everyone in Norwich, instead encouraging people to fill it in on the authority's website.

• What do you think of the city council's consultation over the cuts? Tell us your views by writing to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email