TROWBRIDGE town councillors who have criticised Wiltshire Council for refusing to give them money to take on street cleaning in the town got their brooms out this week.

Town clerk Lance Allan was told recently that Wiltshire Council would not give any funding to the town council if it took on the service, and that the arrangement where Wiltshire Council only responds to people’s complaints instead of cleaning the town regularly would continue.

To prove their point, Cllrs Stewart Palmen, Diana King and Edward Kirk headed to the Innox pathway by the station and collected several bags worth of rubbish and muck to show Wiltshire Council more needs to be done.

“We are embarrassed about the state of the town’s streets. Wiltshire Council are doing the bare minimum. We want Wiltshire Council to do more or at least help us take it on,” said Cllr King.

“So many places around the town are filthy and it is getting worse. Also people are being told by Wiltshire Council that this is the responsibility of the local councillor and not them, so they are sending out mixed messages."

Cllr Palmen acknowledged that he could understand the motivation behind Wiltshire Council’s decision as most of its money goes on safeguarding and protecting the vulnerable, so funds had to come from somewhere.

“I get why they are doing it but I think they should be more helpful. The quality of the street cleaning has definitely gone down,” he said.

“The problem with the statutory service is that it is not regulated. If they think a job does or does not need to be done, there is no Ofsted or inspector looking at how they are doing things.

“I think this is strategic on their part as if it continues like this, we may be forced to step in. In the past people took pride in keeping their properties clean but now the expectation is for someone else to do it.”

Bridget Wayman, cabinet member for highways, said: “We will always ensure our statutory highway and streetscene services are provided, however additional discretionary services can be provided by local councils, community groups or other organisations.

“By removing the current duplication in the delivery of these services in local communities, we can save money which could be better spent protecting the vulnerable in Wiltshire.

“We have and will continue to support town and parish councils to provide services in their areas, by using our contractors or their own. It is important communities decide these service levels and funding themselves so they have services tailored to their local requirements.”