These are the changes that came to Woking on April 1 as bankrupt council makes savings

Bankrupt Woking Borough Council has published the raft of service cuts and price hikes that have come into effect this week.
Woking Borough Council (Image Chris Caulfiield)Woking Borough Council (Image Chris Caulfiield)
Woking Borough Council (Image Chris Caulfiield)

Among the changes are increased fees at Pool in the Park, moving all day-care services to a single site, and the closure of all public toilets outside of Woking Town Centre.

They have been brought about as part of the council’s enforced cost-cutting measures as it seeks to overcome its multi-billion pound debt.

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Pool in the Park prices for members and pay as you go services have gone up to cover the £450,000 subsidy gap the council used to support.

The Vyne, Woking (Image Google)The Vyne, Woking (Image Google)
The Vyne, Woking (Image Google)

Another major change will be the moving of all council-run day care services to Hale End Court with new charges coming into effect, including lunchtime meals.

The community group Regenerate Rise will operate out of the St Mary’s Centre for the Community in Byfleet from May 7 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Those looking to spend a penny outside the town centre will be signposted to the nearest alternative facilities after the council confirmed the closure of the majority of its conveniences – adding that the public toilets would be made available to community groups should they wish to take over their running – but only “in exceptional circumstances”.

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Another area residents may notice change, is in the levels of on-going “environmental maintenance” with the council saying it would continue to provide the service but under a “revised schedule” with residents encouraged to report issues online.

The council’s sports pavilions will continue to operate as normal until they are formally handed over to community groups.

Prices for the two-course lunchtime meal, delivered directly to people’s homes, will increase to £6.98 on weekdays and £7.09 at weekends.

Speaking after the cuts were first announced, Councillor Ann-Marie Barker, leader of Woking Borough Council, said: “Let me be clear. The financial crisis we face is complex and cannot be resolved in the short-term.

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Adoption of these proposals is an important first step towards our objective to live within our means and return Woking to long-term financial sustainability.

“We have listened to resident feedback and looked for innovative solutions wherever possible. We have found a way to keep Pool in the Park open, put in place arrangements for community groups to take ownership of important facilities, whilst supporting valued organisations to transition away from council funding to achieve their own long-term sustainability.

She added: “I know residents will find any reduction in services difficult at this time. These are decisions I did not want to make. However, they are necessary to ensure that the council can continue to provide essential services to residents.”

The council said that, due to their size and catchment, commmunity centres will be prioritised for transfer with several interested parties already invited to submit business cases for further consideration.

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The following assets are still available for community transfer:

Centres for the Community

Maybury Centre

(St Mary’s, The Vyne and Parkview are at various stages of progressing community asset transfers and are unavailable).

Sports pavilions

You can express interest in the following pavilions with progress dependent on the results of a condition survey.

Alpha Road

Brookwood Country Park

Brookwood Farm

Sheets Heath

Byfleet

Goldsworth Park

Kingshead Lane

St Peters

The Vyne Field

Waterers Park

West Byfleet

Wheatsheaf Pavilion

Woking Park

Public toilets

All public toilets will be closed from Monday April 1 (excluding Woking town centre shopping centre facilities). A community asset transfer will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

ENDS

https://www.woking.gov.uk/news/changes-services-1-april-2024

https://www.woking.gov.uk/news/council-adopts-proposals-support-long-term-financial-sustainability

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