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Hundreds sign petitions to protect Walsall Arboretum jobs

By Megan Archer | Walsall | News | Published:

More than 2,000 people have now signed petitions to save threatened roles at Walsall Arboretum.

There are plans for a council staff restructure at Walsall Arboretum

Plans for a council staff restructure were announced last month.

But locals are fighting hard against plans to cut the roles of park manager and marketing and activities co-ordinator – as they believe it will have a negative impact on the facility.

Walsall Council is reorganising its public health lifestyle contracts, sports and leisure development and clean and green teams to make almost £400,000 worth of savings and ‘improve efficiency’.

Council bosses said the major restructure of services will see current posts being removed and a new dedicated team put together and recruited from affected staff.

But chairman of Walsall Arboretum User Group Jo Lester said the move would have ‘the greatest impact’ on the park.

She said: “Anyone who has visited the Arboretum recently will appreciate what this dedicated team have achieved.

“It has a growing reputation both nationally and internationally.

“Such a complex institution, unique within the borough, depends upon a skilled, experienced team combining management with maintenance and activities to preserve standards and continue development.”

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The two separate petitions, set up online, have now amassed more than 2,000 signatures.

Supporter Elizabeth Cooper said: “Let’s keep the arboretum going from strength to strength. Walsall should be proud of this beautiful place.”

And local man Peter Bull added: "I have visited the Arboretum most days for the past 40 years. It has never been as well kept as it has now, by a team who I have got to know, and who really care and have pride in maintaining the environment."

A council spokesman said the authority has already reduced spending by £173 million since 2010/11 and had budgeted to save a further £20 million in the current financial year.

Simon Neilson, executive director for economy and environment, said: “Maintaining the Arboretum, along with our other strategic parks, to a high standard remains a priority for the council and we intend to apply for the Green Flag Award for the Arboretum in 2020.”

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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