FOUR community facilities in Rutherglen and Cambuslang are facing the axe as South Lanarkshire Council prepare to make savage cuts over the next three years.
Council chiefs have handed councillors almost 290 proposals likely to generate £118m of cuts.
And the Reformer understands that Spittal Community Hall, Springhall Community Hall, Toll Pitch Hall and Burnhill Sports Centre are all earmarked for closure as part of a ‘reduction of floor space’ across the region.
It is thought that 27 halls and centres have been targeted for closure, potentially saving the authority £662,000 over the next three years.
The cuts could also see the public toilets on King Street and in the Rutherglen Shopping Centre closed down.
Gala days could also be under threat, with the council looking to save £293,000 by stopping grants, while lollipop men and women are facing the axe with pedestrian crossings being installed, saving £1.27million over the next three years.
Councillors were presented with the proposals at a special seminar on Monday, but no decision was taken. Labour members boycotted the meeting.
They feel the cuts calculation is too high, working out at £38million more than what is required to balance the books. They now want the entire £118million package withdrawn.
Other proposals that are likely to have a major impact on the local area are an increase in school meals and the scrapping of free school meals. It is also suggested that school footwear and clothing grants be stopped, saving the council £590,000.
Other major savings suggested include:
l Saving £330,000 by ending Christmas lights displays and reducing Christmas trees for town and village centres.
l Charging £40 next year and £50 the year after for special uplifts, netting the council £3.95million.
l Increasing burial charges, bringing in nearly £1million.
l Saving £298,000 by stopping grants for senior citizens Christmas lunches.
l Stopping the free use of leisure facilities for under 16s and over 60s, saving £850,000.
l Saving £1.043million by charging for the Care of Gardens scheme.
In education, primary one class sizes could be increased to 25, saving £1.51million, while class sizes in Maths and English for first- and second-year pupils at high school could be increased, saving £1.3million.
Parents could also be forced to find alternative travel arrangements for their kids to get to school with the council suggesting operating school transport at the statutory level, saving £1.6million a year.
A reduction of teaching staff, including librarians, technicians, school support assistants, nursery teachers, additional support needs placements, school support assistants, principal teachers and music instructors could save the council a total of nearly £6.3million.
On the street, pedestrians could be facing darker nights with proposals such as switching off lights where no houses or shops front onto the road, saving £82,000, reducing the frequency of street lamp replacement, and operating specific lamps in areas to extinction, saving £216,000. The removal of graffiti and chewing gum could also be scrapped, saving £260,000.
Even councillors and council staff are not immune from the proposed cuts, with charges being suggested for council car parks, and running just one civic car, a saving of £30,000.
Around 1800 jobs could be lost if the £118million package of cuts goes ahead. The final decision on the budget is set to be taken in February.
The council’s chief executive, Archie Strang, told the 16,000-strong workforce that the authority was facing some bleak choices, with redundancies likely, saying: “I certainly don’t want to underplay the scale of the financial problems we face or the potential impact it will have on colleagues and the community we serve.”
South Lanarkshire Joint Trade Union Council said they wanted the council to stick to their commitment to voluntary redundancies.
Stephen Smellie, Unison Branch Secretary said: “The options presented are horrendous and even if they avoid the worst there is no doubt that young kids, disabled people and older people will suffer drastic cuts in services.”