PARKS and street-cleaning teams covering Bradford district are to be merged as Bradford Council continues to shave millions of pounds off its annual budget.

Area committees in Keighley and Shipley heard that the merger of the Parks and Green Spaces Service and the Cleansing Service would save around £1 million a year.

Members were told that a budget reduction of 25 per cent would mean a significant redesign of the combined department’s management but could create a more efficient, resilient and flexible workforce.

The combined department’s 63 wardens will be split into two distinct roles, one for civil enforcement and the other for environmental enforcement and dealing with the public.

The Street Cleansing service will have 130 full-time equivalent staff, following the loss of 25 frontline staff and a reduction from 16 to 11 mechanical sweepers.

Across Bradford district, the council manages more than 1,000 hectares of parks/grassed areas and around 850 hectares of woodland.

Shipley Area Committee heard that the constituency – which includes Cullingworth, Denholme, Harden and Wilsden – had a £350,000 budget for parks and green spaces work.

A report to the committee stated that due to tight budgets, the cutting of grass and maintenance of flowerbeds remained at minimum levels. Unseasonal weather or unexpected staff absence could affect service levels during the peak season.

The report added: “The operational staff successfully delivered all maintenance works to the highest possible standard throughout the year. As a result it has been notable that complaints have fallen in general and were almost negligible from local bowls clubs.”

The report highlighted the close working relationship with the bowls clubs. The bowls club at Foster Park in Denholme cut their own green while the council carried out other services and treatments.

The biggest challenge for Parks staff remained litter and fly tipping, which interfered with routine activities such as grass cutting.

At the St Ives estate in Harden, trees had been felled due to illness and new planting was scheduled in early 2019. The council’s Trees Manager is working on improvements to St Ives so it regains its Green Flag status.