Council’s planned budget cuts and grants revealed

Portsmouth Guildhall
Portsmouth Guildhall
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ADVENTURE playgrounds in Portsmouth will be hit by council budget cuts – but other services are set for a cash boost.

Documents listing Portsmouth City Council’s recommended budget savings show how there are plans to save £100,000 by transferring youth support services at some of the city’s adventure playgrounds to the voluntary sector.

The document, which will go before full council next week, states the potential impact on the adventure playgrounds in Buckland, Somers Town, Portsea, Paulsgrove, Landport and Stamshaw could lead to closures.

Cllr Jim Patey, of the Portsmouth Labour party and Paulsgrove ward representative, said maintaining the city’s adventure playgrounds is a necessity.

He said: ‘We have the highest intake of young people in the city in Paulsgrove. In school holidays we need to see them off the streets and under supervision.’

Other planned cuts include reducing £4,500 from the support of the annual Over-60s festival, reducing ground maintenance in cemeteries, removing the winter subsidy of the Hayling Island ferry, and transferring the crossing patrol budget to schools to run the service, which could lead to a reduction of patrollers at some crossing sites.

Alan Burnett, chairman of the Portsmouth Pensioners’ Association, expressed his disappointment over the reduction to the Over-60s festival funding.

He said: ‘They haven’t done away with it, which is a relief, but if it means a much smaller event then I regret that.’

But the council is looking to pump £12m into new capital schemes up until 2017/18.

The schemes include handing the Kings Theatre in Southsea a £200,000 grant, refurbishing the tennis courts in Drayton Park, investing in revamping the facilities on Southsea seafront, increasing school places across the city, and a new library in Drayton.

Ian Pratt, vice-chairman of the trustees at Kings Theatre, said: ‘It allows us to start developing and improving the whole audience experience.

‘With improvements out front and backstage, it will lift the theatre for the benefit for the whole city.’