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Councillors approve ambitious budget for the next year

Date Posted: 12:11 PM on Fri, 5 March 2021

Councillors approve budget that includes ambitious plans for a ‘Green Lung’, free bulky waste for pensioners, further investment in flood prevention, new public toilets and funds to tackle Climate Change

Councillors held a Full Council meeting yesterday evening where they voted in favour of a budget that sets out the council’s priorities, spending plans and ways it needs to save money over the next year.

The budget, presented by the Leader of the Council, Councillor John Clarke and Deputy Leader, Councillor Michael Payne, set out the programme of projects for the next year which include plans to create a ‘Green Lung’ extension of Gedling Country Park to connect with the nearby Digby Park and open up acres of green space for residents to enjoy.

The cost of responding to the coronavirus outbreak has, so far, cost the council nearly £4 million and the government funding, so far, has left the council with a £415,000 funding gap which could rise to nearly £1 million that will need to be found by savings or cuts in other services.

Since 2010, grants from Government to the council have been cut by 65% (£5.8m) and for the last two years, Gedling Borough Council has become the worst affected council in England in terms of core spending power, facing a reduction of 20.2% in funding since 2015/16.

Despite the uncertainty around the future funding of the council’s essential services, Councillors did approve a programme of investments aimed at improving the lives of residents and supporting businesses to grow in the borough, they include investment in new toilets at King George V playing field in Arnold, which will include Changing Places toilets. They also approved plans for free a bulky waste collection for all pensioners all year round, which is on top of the free bulky waste collection that will still be maintained fo fall households in the early months of every year. £50,000 was also approved for investment in flood alleviation and the creation of a new Climate Change Reduction Officer to help the council meet its target of becoming Carbon Neutral by 2030.

Other plans approved at the budget council included:

  • Investment in enterprise units at Calverton
  • Investment in Hazelford Way industrial units in Newstead village
  • Investment in Lambley Lane Changing Rooms and pitch renovation
  • Further investment to improve Bonington Theatre & Cinema
  • Construction of a Sand Martin Bank and two Bird Hides at Gedling Country Park to provide a sustainable nesting habitat for Sand Martins.
  • Funding to provide a secure unit to store equipment at Carlton Cemetery.
  • The creation of a Tree Management Officer role.

Deputy Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor Michael Payne said:

“We have announced a series of ambitious projects in this year’s budget that will focus on the health and wellbeing of our residents, provide growth and, in spite of the ongoing severe cuts to our funding, will do everything it can to meet the needs of our residents and businesses while ensuring we balance our books. It won’t be easy but we have shown that, thanks to the continued hard work of our staff, we can deliver on our promises and we will deliver a budget full of ambition for the future.”

The Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke said:

“Our administration has presented a budget to the council that sets out our vision for Gedling and supports our mission to serve people and improve lives. Even in the face of a global pandemic with all the challenges we’ve faced locally, by working with our local communities and our partners we are still delivering on this vision.

We were told by Central Government that we would get ‘whatever it takes’ in our fight against Covid-19 and that hasn’t happened and we are now facing a potential £1 million funding gap on top of the core spending reduction that has left us, for the second year in a row, as the worst affected council in the country, equivalent to a 20% reduction compared to 2015.

This has left us with no choice but to regrettably increase our share of the Council Tax by 2.97%, which equates to £3.33 per year for someone in a Band A property. We understand how difficult times are for many and we will continue to support over 4,800 families across our borough with our 100% funded Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

In spite of ongoing government cuts and the uncertainty over future funding, we are very proud to continue to invest in our borough. Work has already started on regenerating Arnold town centre and Carlton Square and we are now announcing further investment in green projects like the Green Lung at Digby Park and a new Climate Change Officer who will help drive our ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030.”