St Helens park ranger service saved from closure

St Helens town hall have dropped plans to axe the council's ranger service
St Helens town hall have dropped plans to axe the council's ranger service
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Cost-cutting plans to axe St Helens' popular 'ranger service' have been dropped by council chiefs.

The cost-cutting move was raised last year and a number of jobs have already been lost.

But it has emerged the redundancy notices for the four remaining park rangers have been cancelled.

It means the service can continue, although in a much reduced capacity.

A community group, the Friends of Parks Group, thanks volunteers and activists who had campaigned against the proposed cuts.

Peter Yates, the group's honorary secretary, said: "The Friends Groups, who helped publicise the consultation process undertaken by the council, which ended in mid February, were delighted that some 1,200 people completed the consultation questionnaire.

"Sadly the council has so far declined to let us know exactly what the outcome of the consultation was, but the recent u-turn suggests that there was strong opposition to the council’s plans.”

He added: “We have been pressing the council to tell us, and more importantly the Rangers themselves, if there had been a change of plan.

"In late March Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron posted news on social media that the Rangers were no longer threatened.

"Then in April the former Leader of the Council, Councillor Barrie Grunewald, indicated in a strange email that if we voted Labour in the election it 'would be sorted'.

"Despite all the evidence, no-one at the council would confirm that the Rangers were safe until just recently when Coun Long emailed me to say they would stick with the election pledge.

"It’s just a pity that the Rangers have been left in a state of stressed limbo for so long when the change of plan should have been communicated to them."

Peter said “ it just goes to show that if enough people feel strongly enough about an issue, and decide to do something about it, then the minds of politicians can sometimes be changed."