DARLINGTON Borough Council's budget cuts will have a major impact on the appearance of the town and wider communities, officials admit.

The council will stop funding floral displays in all areas of the town other than in sheltered housing schemes and cemeteries.

While South Park will continue to be maintained to the current standards and grass on sports pitches will still be cut, other green areas of the borough will not get the same attention.

Grass on all parks, open spaces and verges other than South Park which is currently cut every couple of weeks during the grass growing season will instead be cut just once a month.

The cleanliness of the town's streets will also suffer.

In the future, one rather than two large mechanical sweepers will operate.

Instead of being swept at least weekly, roads into the town will be swept fortnightly.

Other roads will move from a five-week sweeping schedule to a ten-week schedule.

In the town centre, two people are currently employed to pick up litter, but this will be reduced to one.

The number of staff responsible for litter bins, dog bin emptying and cleaning the back lanes is to be cut from 11 staff to just six.

The smaller mechanical sweepers will be reduced from four to two.

The six staff employed to manually clean the streets will be reduced to three, meaning litter picking will only be carried out across the borough once a fortnight rather than every week.

In a further blow to the town centre, the water feature on Darlington High Row will no longer run during the summer.

The cuts will also mean that the council will no longer carry out investigations into environmental crime, potentially meaning dog fouling, fly tipping, littering and graffiti offences will go unpunished.

The council report admits these cuts will have major consequences.

"The cumulative impact of reducing street cleaning resources and stopping environmental crime enforcement will has a significant impact on the overall appearance across the borough," the document states.

The authority also aims to save around £35,000 a year by ending funding for the Christmas lights.

Instead, officers will seek to work with businesses and other organisations to provide an alternative "Christmas offer".

Ada Burns, Darlington Council chief executive, said this could mean encouraging town centre businesses to install their own lights.