Reductions in grass cutting, park maintenance cuts and parking charge increases are being floated in a bid to save the council around £14 million.

The Liberal Democrat administration at West Berkshire Council has unveiled its budget proposals for the 2024/25 financial year.

In order to cut spending, the council has proposed reducing grass cutting frequency to save up to £220,000 and reducing the number of litter and dog waste bins to save up to £90,000.

The council also wants to save up to £20,000 by reducing the frequency of annual weed treatments.

These measures would affect parks in the area such as Victoria Park in Newbury, The Linear Park and Recreation Ground in Calcot and the Costwold Recreation Ground in Tilehurst.

Reading Chronicle: Linear Park in Calcot. Credit: Google MapsLinear Park in Calcot. Credit: Google Maps

A number of proposed changes would affect how social care is provided.

A major proposal is to either close or find an alternative provider to run Willows Edge Care Home which would save up to £240,000.

Restructuring of adult social care home charges could generate up to £80,000 in revenue for the council.

Reading Chronicle: The bandstand at Victoria Park in NewburyThe bandstand at Victoria Park in Newbury

The administration has also proposed making changes to how transport is provided to those who use adult social care day services.

Restructuring for adult social care transport services could generate £100,000 to £400,000 in revenue.

Meanwhile, reductions in community transport contributions would save up to £10,000.

The proposals come as the council is expecting a budget of around £176 million for the 2024/25 financial year, which financial officers believe will leave the council with a  creating a £14 million gap between expected funding and the forecast spending requirements.

A consultation is being held into proposed budget measures which can be found on the council’s  Consultation and Engagement Hub.

The consultation ends on Thursday, January 11.

Explaining the need for the savings, councillor Lee Dillon (Liberal Democrats, Thatcham North East), leader of the council, said:  “Councils are required by law to deliver a balanced budget and we cannot spend more money than we have.

“It leaves us facing tough decisions about what we do, or how we do it next year.

“We are prioritising support for the most vulnerable residents and protecting frontline services as far as possible – with most savings being found within the organisation.

“Although we have set out our proposals for next year it’s important we give communities the chance to tell us how they will be impacted and what might be done to mitigate the impact of any decisions before we decide how to proceed.”

The budget will be discussed by the executive on Thursday, February 8 ahead of a full council meeting on Thursday, February 29.

West Berkshire Council covers the Reading suburbs of Tilehurst, Calcot and Theale, the towns of Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford and the rest of the county to the border with Wiltshire.