RESIDENTS are fighting a cost cutting council shake up of Ealing's park ranger service.

The Tory decision has been called-in by Liberal Democrat members who feel the change would be harmful to local parks.

Park rangers currently maintain many of the green spaces across the borough and have bases throughout these areas.

Residents claim their presence helps reduce anti-social behaviour.

The changes, agreed by Tory councillors in September, would halve the number of senior management staff, creating two teams, which would operate from Southall and Acton.

Under the plans, there would be two senior managers in the borough to run the teams.

Carolyn Brown, of the Lawns Residents' Association, based in Hanwell, is helping to organise a petition against the changes, which has now been signed by 220 people, including local MPs Steve Pound and Virendra Sharma, as well as London Assembly member Richard Barnes.

Ms Brown said: "These plans do not fit in with the Tories' stated aims of being cleaner and greener. At the moment having rangers on site stops people from causing trouble in these spaces.

"If they go I do not think that Brent Park or any of the other spaces in this area will be as well-maintained because there will not be the same expert local knowledge and every day hands-on experience."

Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Ealing-Southall, Nigel Bakhai, has also put his support behind the scheme, claiming it shows the Tories do not care about the parks.

He said: "In getting rid of these rangers they are shedding a lot of expertise and although the council say they will hire more community police officers to tackle anti-social behaviour they are based on the streets, not in the parks.

"One of the senior rangers is being given early retirement if the plans go ahead - and yet there is talk of re-hiring him to do the same job next year because there is no-one else to replace him.

"To me as a resident this doesn't make any sense."

Councillor Nigel Sumner, who is in charge of leisure in the borough, hailed the work the ranger service did in clearing travellers from land in Havelock Road in Southall on Monday, September 24.

He said: "This is not a political decision, it is simply trying to get the best services we can for the community.

"We are not cutting the number of rangers, just the number of bases, but they will still have temporary bases in the other parks in the borough."

Last month, rangers helped police to clear a group of 12 travellers from the land, which contains a children's playground, within two hours of their arrival.

The travellers were banned from the area for three months and could be arrested, or have their vehicles confiscated if they return before December.

Anyone who wants to sign the petition can do so at or by contacting Carolyn Brown by email at

The plans will be discussed at a scrutiny committee meeting on Thursday, October 11.