4:00pm Sunday 17th February 2013
By Rick Bowen
AS Trafford’s ruling Conservatives decide whether to withdraw funding from the Mersey Valley Warden Service, the Labour opposition has spoken of the area’s “heartbreaking” decline.
Council staff have maintained the site in the borough since 2007 - when the responsibility was taken away from the MVWS.
But Philip Gratrix, a Labour councillor for the Priory Ward in Sale said: "It's heartbreaking to see the decline - when I look at the wetlands in front of the visitor centre, the evidence of continued cutbacks over the last few years is so sad to witness.
"It feels like the Conservatives have slowly been creeping away from the Mersey Valley and abandoning it to its fate."
If the council’s executive decides to withdraw the £92,000 a year grant other organisations will be invited to run the Visitor Centre in Sale Water Park.
Staff from not for profit organisations will be invited to look after visitors and organise events.
But executive councillor Alan Mitchell said if approved the funding cut will result in “no change” to the level of service for visitors.
He said: “The council is looking at ways we can work with partner groups to make sure that visitors can get the most out of the Mersey Valley experience. This will ensure that the cafe and the toilets at the centre remain open.”
Trafford’s executive will decide on February 20 if it is going to approve its funding plans.
Manchester City Council is also proposing to withdraw its £150,000 a year budget to the Mersey Valley Warden Service and is holding a consultation event at St Barnabus Church, Hardy Lane, Chorlton, on Friday, February 15, from 5pm to 7pm and a drop-in at the Chorlton Water Park Centre on Sunday, February 17, from 3pm to 4.30pm.
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