Wigan street cleaners to work evenings to ease traffic woes

Wigan Town Hall
Wigan Town Hall

A revamped team tasked with sprucing up Wigan’s streets are to work more in the evening to help ease congestion.

The council has combined its street cleaning and greenspace officers with estate and town centre caretaker staff to form a Streetscene team.

Bosses have taken inspiration from Tameside Council for the move, the town hall’s advisory panel was told.

One aspect of this new way of working will see street cleaners operating after normal working hours, which “raises residents’ perception of their local street scene”.

Environment director Paul Barton said an evening working pattern is set to be trialled in Wigan with hopes for a full roll-out in the future. It means road sweeping on main arterial routes will take place in the evening when roads are quieter.

Meanwhile, cleaning on housing estates will be in the daytime when there are fewer cars parked there.

Addressing the panel, Mr Barton (pictured) said: “The overall aim is to promote the borough as a clean, green and safe place to live, work and invest.

When we get to 2020, the only income we’ll be getting will be council tax and business rates and we want to promote the street scene to bring in new residents, new tenants and new business as well.”

The panel heard Tameside’s system had led to both service improvements and financial savings.

A report reads: “Given the success of the Tameside model it is now proposed an evening working pattern is trialled and if successful introduced as a core element of the Streetscene service delivery model.”

Mr Barton said staff could be split across two shifts, covering from 6.30am to about 9pm. He said: “(Currently) in the morning they’ll be on the highways, blocking and adding to congestion. Then they’ll move to the housing estates later on when everyone is getting home from work, so it’s like dodgems.

“We want to flip that on its head; get to the housing estates when they’re clear and in the evening when rush hour has died down we can get them onto the arterial routes.

“It will make better use of the fleet but also productivity and the impact will go up. Of an evening on the highways we can get to areas we can’t usually, like the central reservations.”