Wandsworth's streets are among the dirtiest in London and a decision to scale back on town centre cleaning will "turn a problem into a crisis", it has been claimed.

The head of the borough's business network has also raised concern over a move by Wandsworth Council to cut the afternoon daily cleanses of the borough’s bustling centres and scrap late night town centre cleaning altogether.

But town hall bosses insist a new eight year street cleaning contract, worth more than £4m a year and which comes into effect next April, will ensure residential areas, highways and town centres "continue to be among the capital’s cleanest".

Labour councillors have warned that Putney High Street, Clapham Junction and Tooting Broadway will be the worst hit by the cuts, which were opposed by 48 per cent of residents who responded to a consultation.

The group's leader, Councillor Rex Osborn, said: "The council’s scrimping on cleaning costs means that Wandsworth’s streets are already amongst the dirtiest in London, and this short sighted decision threatens to turn a problem into a crisis."

Councillor Leonie Cooper, opposition speaker for Environment on the council, added: "These latest cuts threaten to deter shoppers from visiting our town centres and diminish the quality of life of thousands of Wandsworth residents who live in and pass through these hubs every day."

Chairman of Wandsworth's Chamber of Commerce, Chris Wyatt, said: "The chamber is concerned that the town centres are kept clean and tidy. The decision to reduce cleaning should be monitored and evaluated to ensure standards of cleanliness do not suffer. Businesses do need all the support they can get right now."

Under the terms of the new deal, every residential road in the borough will receive at least two weekly sweeps and cleans. Busy residential roads with a high footfall could be cleaned as many as seven times a week, the council announced.

Town centres like Tooting and Clapham Junction will receive six cleans every day while all others will be cleaned at least three times a day.

The council’s environment spokesman, Councillor Jonathan Cook, said: “People who live in Wandsworth know that it is not just the 'Brighter Borough' - it’s the cleaner borough too.

"We have drawn up a rigorous and demanding contract, which has been heavily influenced by the views of local people, that will deliver clean streets and town centres for the next eight years."

Last year, research by the GMB union ranked Wandsworth as the 10th worst London borough on a league table of clean streets.

However, in 2010 complaints to the council from members of the public about litter fell to their lowest level for more than a decade, according to the authority - and the amount of waste and litter picked up from town centres fell by more than nine per cent.

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