Conservative controlled North West Leicestershire District Council has frozen council tax for the ninth year running.
At its full council meeting on Tuesday 27 February 2018 councillors also approved the creation of a new self-sufficiency fund using £2.76 million from current reserves. This fund will be used over the next five years to establish ways of generating income and improve the way the council works in the face of government funding changes and future financial challenges.
The agreed budget allows NWLDC to continue its record of freezing its part of the council tax bill whilst investing in a range of capital projects, including:
- Building a new leisure centre for the district
The council has begun the process of finding an external provider to design, build, operate and maintain a new leisure centre in Coalville, and run and invest in Hood Park Leisure Centre in Ashby. The new centre will cost around £20 million, with the council funding around two thirds of this from its reserves and the remainder from external borrowing.
- A redesign of Marlborough Square in Coalville
This £1.1 million project will see the square transformed into a pedestrian-friendly space, with fewer vehicles and more events. The redesign has been done in consultation with businesses and users of the square, and is set to be complete by winter 2018.
- Repair work to the Memorial Tower in Coalville
The council is currently bidding for external funding to carry out necessary repairs to the Memorial Tower in Coalville. The council has set aside £120,000 for this work in case the bids are not successful or the amounts awarded do not cover the full work needed.
- Building new council homes in Coalville and Ashby
NWLDC started building its first new council homes for three decades in 2017. The 24 houses and bungalows being built on Linford Crescent and Verdon Crescent in Coalville and on the Willesley Estate in Ashby, plus 12 additional homes planned on the former Cocked Hat pub site in Coalville and other sites under negotiation, sees an investment of £7.8 million over three years ending in 2019/20.
- Continued maintenance and improvement of council tenants’ homes
The council’s Decent Homes Programme brought all tenant homes up to the Government’s ‘decent’ standard in 2015. The ongoing Home Improvement Programme keeps homes at this national quality standard, with £2.8 million being invested in 2018/19.
Councillor Nick Rushton, Corporate Portfolio Holder for NWLDC, said: “We have been in a strong financial position over the past years. Whilst other councils have had to make significant cuts, our hard work on securing business rates, planning fees and New Homes Bonus has meant we have had healthy budgets, whilst maintaining our freeze on council tax.
“We know that future changes to Government funding of local authorities have the potential to reduce our income, so we’re planning now and getting new income streams in place so that we can maintain this good position. This will secure good quality services for local people into the future.”