Plans to axe wardens who patrol Lincoln's commons are criticised
Plans to axe wardens who patrol Lincoln's commons have been criticised by a national pressure group.
The City of Lincoln Council has announced proposals to cut the service as it looks to reduce its budget by around £3 million by 2016-17.
But the Open Spaces Society has criticised the plans and says losing the wardens would devalue the city's commons.
Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said: "Lincoln's commons are of exceptional importance, extensive green spaces close to the heart of the city which have remained relatively unspoilt for centuries.
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"They provide inspiration and recreation for Lincoln's residents and workers and the council should treasure these unique assets.
"We are dismayed to learn of the council's plan to axe the warden service.
"This, at relatively modest cost, ensures the commons are well managed, safe places for people to enjoy, clear of crime and litter.
"The service is a vital investment – without it, the commons would deteriorate and become unpleasant places which people no longer wish to visit, whereas at present they are something in which the city can take pride.
"We have told the council that such a cut would be shooting itself in the foot."
The council says that the closure of the service would save £38,000 a year.
Members of the society and the Lincoln Commons Advisory Panel have written to the council to object to the plans.
Miriam Smith, a member of the society and of the commons advisory panel, said: "The Lincoln commons are important open-air public assets within the city boundary and must be cared for.
"Since his appointment, the Commons Warden has done valuable work in improving the infrastructure and safety of the commons.
"Although some of this work may continue, it will be much more difficult without a man on the ground."
Ric Metcalfe, Leader of the council said: "The latest round of Government cuts have forced the council into some tough decisions.
"The decision to remove the commons warden service was not one that was taken lightly, given the choice, the council would not be making any of the proposed cuts in its budget.
"The Open Spaces Society should really be making their representations to Government who are the real culprits for the council being unable to continue this excellent service"