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Opposition councillor accuses Conservative group of 'broken promises' over community wardens

An opposition councillor has accused the Royal Borough’s Conservatives of ‘broken promises’ for failing to deliver on their election pledge to double the number of community wardens.

In its 2015 election manifesto, the Conservative group promised to increase the number of wardens from 18 to 36. However, Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green), who helped set up the scheme in 2004 with the intention of adding more wardens every year, said the number has stopped going up.

He added: “In 2015 the Conservatives said they were going to double community wardens which is something I supported.

“This budget is the last chance to put the money into it. And I know we’re used to them breaking their promises.”

The wardens act as a ‘highly visible reassuring presence’ in the community, with the aim of reducing crime and disorder. A Royal Borough spokesman confirmed that there are no plans to increase the number of wardens from the current 18 at this time.

“I raised the issue about three of four times at the last Crime and Disorder Overview and Scrutiny Panel in November before they took it seriously,” added Cllr Werner.

“There is still the chance they might actually deliver but I’ve asked for it to be on the next agenda.

“It was an expensive campaign promise, it has to be said, which is why I wanted year-on-year increases.”

Cllr Jesse Gray, cabinet member for environmental services (including parking and flooding), was asked whether there were any plans in the upcoming budget to keep the manifesto promise.

He said: “There’s nothing that I think is going to be in it. But there is a budget steering group meeting on Thursday (today), I may have more information after that. Obviously we should be keeping our [election] promises.”

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