COUNCILLORS in Horwich are 'shocked' after they discovered no street sweeping is being undertaken by the council until March.

Horwich North East Labour councillors Kevin McKeon and Richard Silvester found no street sweeping is being undertaken by Bolton Council at the moment until March.

According to two separate e-mails sent to them by officers from Bolton Council’s neighbourhood services department on January 20 and February 4 in response to requests for street sweeping to take place in Horwich, they were informed ‘no sweeping is taking place between January and March as all of our sweepers were stood down in the new year and are standing down in order to meet the constraints of the most recent budget cuts made by the Council’.

The councillors had asked for street sweeping to take place as residents had complained to them about the state of mud and dirt on roads in two different parts of Horwich.

Cllr McKeon said: "I was absolutely flabbergasted to read the reply from the neighbourhood services department.

"We had not been told that street sweeping had stopped in January until we enquired if some extra sweeping could take place, only to find out that none was taking place and will not until March.

"It means that for two months in the year, no street sweeping has been occurring. I have to ask why on earth the Conservative council has not had the bottle to tell anyone what is going on, or in fact what is not going on."

Cllr Silvester added: "This is just shocking. We are in the third year of a Tory council and this is now what things have come to.

"The Conservative government talks about levelling up but yet we have a Conservative council who now, cannot even sweep the streets in our borough.

"Residents will be wondering what on earth they pay their council tax for when basic services are not being undertaken.

"The reason given is because of budget cuts. Last year the Labour group voted against £35m of budget cuts made by the ruling Conservative group however these were voted through with the full support of the various ‘First’ parties and Independents in the borough.

"The Labour group warned last year that this would be the consequence and now here we are. The council is on its knees because of these cuts."

A Bolton Council spokesman said: "The council regularly pause mechanical street sweeping operations at this time of year when inclement weather conditions and winter gritting activities make it a challenge to deliver the service effectively.

"This arrangement was formalised by Bolton Council in 2020 in order to meet agreed savings targets by reducing fuel use and other operational costs.

"During this time, staff are redeployed to other winter maintenance activities before sweeping resumes in March."