Halton councillors are poised to back a radical restructure which will see the authority axe its school meals service as well as close two children's day centres.

A meeting of Full Council takes place tomorrow, Wednesday, where members are recommended to approve the measures in an attempt to save  £6.881m over the next three years.

The measures are designed to go hand-in-hand with a more long term restructure of council services as the authority faces a £25m black hole over the next three years, with the council utilising some of its reserves to help buy time to come up with other methods of saving cash.

Branded ‘reimiagining Halton’, the restructure will include measures such as:

  • Closure of Ditton and Warrington Road Daycare Centres. They opened in 2004 as part of government policy to provide childcare for youngsters under five. They operate on the site of nurseries which are not affected by this proposal. The council says both make losses and that sufficient alternative provision exists nearby, as well as at the adjoining nursery schools.
  • No longer delivering the school meals service in two years, which the council says has made losses of more than £200,000 for a ‘number of years’. Work would be undertaken with schools to support them finding alternative means of delivery, either in-house or with an external provider.
  • Increasing the price of meals on wheels services.
  • Selling Ingleifled children’s home in Runcorn with the intention of buying two bungalows.
  • Reducing the opening hours of Children's Centres.
  • Reviewing the operation of Windmill Hill Children's Centre, which the council said has potential to save on premises and staffing costs.
  • Scrapping funding for the Learning Disability Nursing Team. The service supports adults in Halton who have difficulties using mainstream adult health services because of a learning disability. The council said that because it is a health and not a council issue, the local Integrated Care Board would need to consider how it wants to provide this service.
  • Franchising out the concourse bars at the DCBL Stadium to an external operator. Catering services would remain as they are in other areas of the stadium and at the Brindley.
  • Considering introducing civil traffic enforcement for traffic violations. This would involve hiring private sector civil enforcement officers to issue fines and generate income. It would take 12 months to apply for powers from the Department For Transport and put the scheme in place. Halton does not currently have civil traffic enforcement, with penalties only being issued by private companies on private land, or by the police on public highways.
  • Reducing area forum grants – cash usually distributed to community projects - for one year to £50,000, this would then be reviewed.

The restructure programme and savings are likely to sit alongside a council tax hike of almost 5 per cent – the maximum allowed under updated government regulations introduced last autumn.

The meeting takes place at Runcorn Town Hall  tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6.30pm.