Agreed plans to axe the regular monitoring of the Island’s CCTV cameras have been slammed as “absolute madness” by some Isle of Wight businessmen and women.
Five staff members currently monitor the CCTV from a control room at Island Roads’ Newport base – but those roles will now be cut.
The proposals came into force on 1 April and the Isle of Wight Council says more than £11 million will be saved.
It follows a renegotiation of the highways PFI contract.
The council has assured Islanders that the cameras will continue to roll – with Hampshire Constabulary allowed access to them. But, there will be no regular monitoring.
However, some Isle of Wight businessmen and women have taken to social media to voice their concerns. One said:
“Absolute madness. This is such a vital service especially for us in the licensed trade.”
“This control room is invaluable while working in security, they can track and warn you of problems arising and send help where needed.”
The council says it has worked alongside Island Roads and Jasmine Consulting, to identify further savings.
Some areas of maintenance, such as the cutting of grass verges and the emptying of roadside bins, will be “reduced”.
It is hoped that around £40million could be saved over the next 18 years of the renegotiated PFI contract.
Councillor Stuart Hutchinson, the councillor in charge of council finances, said:
“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.”
The council says Island Roads is looking at redeployment and other avenues to keep any compulsory redundancies to a minimum.
Councillor Ian Ward, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, added:
“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.”
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.”