FENLAND: Council in bouyant mood as they agree to car park spending and boost to capital programme
BY John Elworthy BOUYANT councillors are to add four projects to their �18 million, three year capital programme – including a major overhaul of Fenland car parks- in a �720,000 package announced today. Fenland District Council, which has pledged a no
BY John Elworthy
BOUYANT councillors are to add four projects to their �18 million, three year capital programme - including a major overhaul of Fenland car parks- in a �720,000 package announced today.
Fenland District Council, which has pledged a 'no cuts, no redundancies' policy, said car parks in Wisbech and March would benefit from the extra �225,000 worth of funding.
"We definitely need to bring our car parks up to scratch and will do so," said council leader Geoff Harper.
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"There's a long term issue about whether we should retain free parking but in the meantime we obviously have to maintain standards and invest in them." Church Terrace, Wisbech, which has been criticised in the past for its poor state of repair will be among those to be improved.
The council also plans to spend �92,000 on replacing the district's litter bins and 235 will be installed across Fenland in the next two years.
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"They will be rustproof and made of fibreglass and, in areas where there is potential for them to be vandalised, the council is providing fireproof bins," said Cllr Harper.
"The bins cost �350 each but by replacing this quantity, there is considerable saving."
The council also announced �300,000 worth of funding for a Fenland Renaissance project to help improve its market towns and �105,000 will be spent on refurbishing cemeteries.
Executive director Mat Taylor will tell Cabinet on Thursday that a proposed 3.9 per cent increase in council tax will equate to less than �7 per annum for the average Band B household.
Despite worsening income from the port, from entries to leisure centres, lower interest rates on investment and fewer planning application fees, the council still operated on their highest ever level reserves.
In the coming year officers had identified savings and efficiencies of �800,000 "which is a significant sum and has been achieved without the need to reduce or cut service provision to residents".
Mr Taylor believes only an exceptional down turn would force the council to even consider voluntary redundancies.
"Wherever possible, should this become necessary, officers will be making proposals to protect direct services to residents," he said. The council had �750,000 in a special account to be used for voluntary redundancies if the need arose.