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CCTV monitoring axed and street cleaning reduced — £11 million cut from highways PFI contract

THE Isle of Wight's CCTV cameras will no longer be regularly monitored, and street cleaning and grass cutting will be reduced, following £11.4 million worth of cuts to the highways PFI contract.

All five posts at the CCTV control room, at Island Roads' Newport headquarters, will be axed as part of the plans.

CCTV will continue to function, and can be accessed by the police, but will no longer be regularly monitored.

Roadside bins will not be emptied as frequently, and verges will not be cut as regularly — which the council said would encourage biodiversity.

The cost-cutting plans have been drawn up by the Isle of Wight Council and Island Roads, based on advice provided by former highways PFI council officer turned private consultant Jay Jayasundara, of Jasmine Consulting

As reported, Mr Jayasundara was paid £95,000 for just six months work — fixing the contract he put together.

Isle of Wight taxpayers also footed the £750 a month bill for his rent.

The council said today (Wednesday) it had identified initial savings of £11.4 million over the remaining 18 years of the contract.

It hopes find further savings — cutting around £40 million from the contract in total.

"This arrangement is a substantial contribution to the council delivering its budget strategy and I would like to thank Island Roads for the work it has done to agree it,” said the council's cabinet member for finance, Cllr Stuart Hutchinson.

Cllr Ian Ward, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said: “This very successful contract has transformed our Island roads since it started six years ago, and it will continue to do so.

"It has delivered some of the best roads in the country and, with these savings, it represents even better value for money for Islanders.

"The savings do not affect road resurfacing and footpath improvements plus high priority maintenance and road safety works, which will continue as required.

"It does however mean people will find, some aspects of maintenance and services reduced for example, grass verges will not be cut as often to encourage biodiversity, and roadside bins will not be emptied as frequently.

"However, these changes are an evolution of the original contract as we have discovered the service was better than needed in some areas.”

The council said the plans would lead to a number of post reductions at Island Roads and its subcontractors, including five from CCTV monitoring and similar numbers in the area of street cleaning and also grass cutting.

It said CCTV will still function and the police will have access to it.

In all areas, Island Roads is looking at redeployment and other avenues to keep any compulsory redundancies to a minimum.

Service director at Island Roads, Steve Ashman, said: “While under this new agreement, we will be providing a reduced level of service, we are confident residents will continue to receive an extensive, high quality programme of highways improvement and maintenance.”

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