ST Helens’ Park Rangers have been informed that their redundancy notices have been cancelled, the Local Democracy Reporter Service can reveal.

A public consultation was launched by St Helens Council in January on the future of the borough’s open spaces, which proposed axing the ranger service.

Various Friends Groups have campaigned to persuade the council to abandon its plan to cut the jobs.

And after months of uncertainty, last month council leader Derek Long told councillors following the annual meeting that the service would be protected.

Peter Yates, honorary secretary of the Friends of Taylor Park, said the remaining four Park Rangers have now been told by their manager that the redundancy notices have been cancelled.

Mr Yates said: “The Friends Groups, who helped publicise the consultation process undertaken by the council, which ended in mid-February, were delighted that some 1,200 people completed the consultation questionnaire.

“Sadly, the council has so far declined to let us know exactly what the outcome of the consultation was, but the recent U-turn suggests that there was strong opposition to the council’s plans.”

Mr Yates said that the Friends Groups have been given no clear indication that the Ranger Service would be protected, despite pledges from Labour in the run-up to the election.

“Despite all the evidence, no-one at the council would confirm that the Rangers were safe until just recently when Cllr Long emailed me to say they would stick with the election pledge,” he said.

“It’s just a pity that the Rangers have been left in a state of stressed limbo for so long when the change of plan should have been communicated to them.”

Members of the Friends Groups thanked members of the public, voluntary groups, schools and other park users who voiced their opposition to the planned cuts.

Mr Yates said: “It just goes to show that if enough people feel strongly enough about an issue and decide to do something about it, then the minds of politicians can sometimes be changed.”