SCHOOL crossing patrols in some parts of Clydebank could be axed as council bosses look for ways to cut costs.

Plans to remove ‘lollipop’ patrols in 17 locations will go before a West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) meeting next week.

The move would save a total of £45,000 if councillors endorse the idea – but even if they do, it’ll only go a small way towards bridging a budget gap of almost £2.9 million.

A report prepared ahead of a full council meeting on February 24 includes the removal of school crossing patrols as a possible savings option – but only from places where there are already existing pedestrian crossing facilities.

Clydebank Post:

The report states that the council is already struggling to fill vacant posts for school crossing patrollers, so current and any future vacancies would simply be left unfilled.

The report says: “Best practice guidance states that school crossing patrollers should not be deployed at junctions where pedestrian crossings already exist because this duplication can be confusing for motorists.

“The council has experienced difficulties recruiting for school crossing vacancies and the saving would be achieved through not filling vacant posts. We would continue to work with pupils and parents to promote road safety. 

Elsewhere, the biggest potential saving would be made from delaying the planned expansion of free school meals to include all P4-7 pupils - cutting £1,038,000 from the budget in each of the next three years – with no indication of when the expanded service might take effect.

Clydebank Post:

And charities, community groups and schools are all facing potential funding cuts - but residents look set for a council tax freeze.

Another £100,000 would be trimmed off the total distributed to head teachers to pay for services and supplies.

Finance chiefs have pitched a 24 per cent cut to funds for partners and bodies providing services in the area - saving them £300,000 but potentially hitting local groups hardest.

National charities could face less rates relief if they have premises in West Dunbartonshire.

Other cuts would come from sharing more management posts with Inverclyde Council.

In Clydebank, three bowling greens could be closed or merged in Goldenhill and Whitecrook would either close entirely or be merged into those at Whitecrook.

Clydebank Post:

Recycling facilities in the area could be cut back with centres at Ferry Road in Old Kilpatrick and at Dalmoak in Renton in line to see opening hours reduced or losing a full day.

Bulk uplift charges could jump from £21.66 to £35 from April 1, while free driving lessons for young people aged 17 to 24 could end.

The council could also save £700,000 next year by using the “sinking fund” from PPP schools - something that would leave an extra £700,000 to find in 2022/23.

Management adjustments - cuts that don’t need councillor approval - include bringing CCTV camera monitoring under council control instead of being outsourced.

With a delay in the Scottish Government’s budget being finalised, WDC officials have calculated a £2.881 million gap, despite millions of pounds in extra cash to prop up local authorities.

That includes funding to ensure councils freeze tax at last year’s rates.

For WDC to offset that grant, they would have to raise council tax “significantly” higher than 3 per cent, the same report warns.

Council bosses are planning to delay the rest of the budget until later in March in case further cash comes from the government - just in time for May’s Holyrood elections.

After the draft budget is considered by councillors next week, the budget and council tax levels will be the subject of a final vote on Wednesday, March 3 – the date by which, by law, council tax rates across Scotland must be set.