THE Conservatives have called for grey bins to be collected every fortnight, free swimming pools sessions for children during school holidays and 10 high-tech CCTV cameras to be installed in crime hotspots.

The Tories also want the council to invest £2m in leisure facilities and make them free to all serving and retired military veterans.

This comes after it was revealed that leisure centres could close after a review of services with a savings target of half a million pounds.

The main opposition group presented its alternative budget at a town hall meeting last night.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, the group’s leader, Cllr Nick Jones, said: “The Conservatives have tabled a fully-costed budget amendment which we believe puts the residents at its heart, the very people who elected us to the town hall. In our role of opposition, we hold the current Labour administration to account but we must aspire to do better as a borough.

“In July 2019, this council passed a climate emergency. The Conservative budget amendment puts the environment at its very heart and is the foundations for a greener Bury.

“We will make Bury cleaner and clean up our streets by restoring grey bin collections back to every two weeks as a minimum for all residents. We will never sacrifice recycling but three weekly bin collections is hurting hard working families across our six townships. In recent years, fly tipping has been on the rise and we will take tougher action on littering, fly-tipping and dog fouling. Fines will be increased to the legal maximum in our bid to clean up our town.

“We will tackle crime and keep our streets safe by installing an extra 10 hi-tech CCTV cameras at crime hotspots across our borough. We will encourage people to become special constables by reducing their council tax bill by 50 per cent.

“By embracing these alternatives, the council can address its problems, improve the services delivered and take the initial steps towards a cleaner, greener, safer Bury.”

The amendment included the creation of a climate change officer at the town hall. It also calls on the council to make Bury “greener” by installing and maintaining electric vehicle charging points across the borough.

The Liberal Democrats blasted Labour for raising council tax by 25 per cent over the last five years – nearly £400 for Band D properties.

Cllr Tim Pickstone, the group's leader, described the rate set by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham as an "eye-watering" rise.

He said: "Yet again Bury’s Labour-controlled Council seem determined to put council tax rates up significantly above inflation. When you add everything together this year the increase for residents is nearly five per cent. In this year's budget Labour are promising lots of 'jam tomorrow’ with vague plans for regeneration in Radcliffe, Prestwich, Bury and elsewhere. In Prestwich, we know from experience that regeneration has been announced many times, but never happens in reality."

Deputy group leader, Cllr Cristina Tegolo, said that Liberal Democrats would do things differently. She said: "We need action, not words, on climate change. Our plans would put a huge £5m of spare reserves as a first payment into a new ‘Climate Change Reserve’. Over the coming years we would spend that reserve on significantly increased investment in walking and cycling routes, on waste reduction, banning chemical weedkillers and paying for a new tree replacement scheme.

"And there are also things that need putting right immediately. We would upgrade the out of date CCTV systems in Radcliffe and Prestwich town centres to make people feel safer, and develop a selective licensing programme for problematic private landlords.

"Congestion is a major priority for us. In Prestwich, where Labour say they want to regenerate the Town Centre, our view is that nothing can be done until congestion is sorted. We would pump prime investment with an urgent £2 million to tackle congestion, as well as extra funds one the next three years to provide residential areas who want it with traffic calming to tackle ‘rat runs’."