£8 million investment planned as council seeks views on budget
Residents are being asked for their views on our budget plans as we look to make one of our biggest investments to help the borough recover from the pandemic.
We're pledging more than £8 million to go towards creating affordable homes for local people, improving our parks and open spaces and supporting businesses with more funding also being made available for community groups and sports clubs that have been affected by the pandemic.
In setting out our plans during what continues to be one of the most challenging environments for local authorities we believe our transformation of how we operate and good financial management means we can support local communities when they need it the most.
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: "The last two years has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging times for a generation and it's vital as a community leader that we set the right tone for an optimistic recovery and support all our residents and business through that.
"We've already set the ball rolling with major developments such as the refurbishment of Worden Hall, Leyland Town Deal and the new extra care scheme but this additional funding will put us on the front foot and go right to the heart of our communities, supporting those who have given so much during the pandemic.
"It also means each and every part of the borough will see investment in the local area to bolster that community spirit and pride that we have all felt even more strongly as we have supported each other through the pandemic."
The proposals set out include:
- £2.4 million to improve parks and open spaces, with a further £200,000 for smaller recreation areas and play areas
- £3.1 million to create more affordable homes for local people with work about to start on the McKenzie Arms site, in Bamber Bridge
- £1.6 million to improve the leisure centres, which have been brought back under the council's control, and have seen an increase in memberships
- £200,000 for businesses to help them grow as we come out of the pandemic
- £30,000 to help residents celebrate the Queen's Jubilee - this is alongside the Music in the Park and Leyland Festival events planned for June
- £200,000 to target flytipping hotspots and clean up areas of the borough
- £200,000 in community boost support funding that will see projects delivered locally by the community hubs across all parts of the borough
- £200,000 for sports clubs and community groups that have helped many people keep going through the pandemic but have been severely affected by the lockdowns
- £200,000 to support high quality employment by supporting apprenticeships and graduates to work at the council, improving service delivery and resilience
The plans do also suggest a 1.99% increase in council tax (equivalent to 9 pence per week on our portion of the bill) and freezes on fees and charges.
"When it comes to the budget we always have to think long and hard about council tax and whether we need to increase it, particularly as we know the cost of living generally is increasing whether that's with shopping bills, fuel or energy bills," said Councillor Foster.
"The factor we have to consider is that the Government is expecting us to put up council tax by 1.99% and they assume this in their calculations when distributing funding around the country - if we don't increase it we could be penalised by receiving less funding in the future.
"On balance our view is that people will see the value on paying 9 pence per week more in return for all the services we continue to provide and the extra £8 million investment and that is backed up by the feedback we get on the work we have done to make a difference in our communities."
The consultation will run until 10 February.