Worcester City councillors have approved a £10.5 million budget for 2019/20, including a range of initiatives to deliver the ambitions in the City Plan.
The City Plan aims to build a successful future for Worcester and money has been set aside in next year’s budget to improve the city centre environment, reduce litter, help people facing hardship and support local business people
The budget includes a rise in the City Council’s element of residents’ Council Tax bills.
Councillor Marc Bayliss, Leader of the City Council, said: “This is a budget that will bring improvements to our city and support our residents at every level – from those launching their own businesses to those in need of housing and financial support. We are continuing to deliver on the ambitions of our City Plan and I am very pleased that a one-off allocation of £225,000 from our City Plan fund has been made to the development of a new footbridge that will link Gheluvelt Park and Kepax Park.”
Councillor Adrian Gregson, Deputy Leader of the City Council, said: “This budget is an important step in delivering the ambitions of our City Plan and the vision set out in the draft City Centre Masterplan. I welcome the provision in this year’s budget to provide additional support for people at risk of homelessness or facing financial hardship.”
Investments to be made under the 2019/20 budget include:
- £398,000 to improve the city council’s CCTV network
- £400,000 supporting a revamp of The Shambles shopping area
- £236,000 on new temporary accommodation for people at risk of homelessness
- £145,000 for solar-powered litter bins and more recycling points, enhancing cleanliness and tidiness in the city centre
- £77,000 to support local people who are facing particular financial difficulties and are struggling to pay their Council Tax arrears
- £100,000 to be invested in the creation of The Kiln, a new city centre co-working space for freelancers and creatives
- £200,000 for improvements to the City Council’s 14 car parks.
Council Tax will increase by around 1p a day, as permitted by the Government, giving an annual rise of £5.40 for a band D property.
The 2019/20 budget includes a contribution of £1.5m from the Government’s New Homes Bonus scheme, an award made in recognition of the number of new houses delivered in the city. £396,000 will be used to support delivery of the City Plan. The remainder will go towards maintaining excellent standards in the Council’s main services, including waste and recycling, grounds maintenance, parks, street cleaning, planning, housing, economic development and more.
The Worcester City Plan sets out ambitions under five broad themes:
- Stronger and connected communities
- A prosperous city
- A healthy and active city
- A heritage city for the 21st Century
- Sustaining and improving our assets.