South Ribble Council has announced a council tax freeze in its budget proposals for 2015/16, despite having faced a 46 per cent cut in government funding since 2010.
Council bosses revealed that the huge City Deal scheme and ‘forward planning’ has ensured that South Ribble is in a strong financial position to invest in major projects this next financial year, including ploughing £440,000 into improving parks and open spaces.
Central Park – a new park set to be created over the next 15 years connecting green spaces in Bamber Bridge, Lostock Hall and Penwortham – is set to get a £200,000 boost from that cash pot, as draft plans are currently being drawn up. The council needs to save £775,000 this year, and ways of saving £590,000 of that total have already been identified.
A new waste contract is currently being finalised, which is expected to deliver savings of at least £2.1m over the next seven years.
Council leader, Coun Margaret Smith, said: “There has been a lot of growth in South Ribble over the last few years, and with the City Deal gathering pace, there are a lot more opportunities open to us now.
“I feel we’ve more than weathered the recession now, and we’ve always said we’re open for business.
“We’ve got a really good vision for the future whilst maintaining our frontline services, such as funding the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, PCSOs, domestic violence services, CCTV, and waste services.
“The new waste contract will save us the best part of £2million, so all in all, it’s a good story to tell.”
The budget report proposes South Ribble Council’s share of council tax be frozen for the fifth time in six years, staying at £208.30 per year for a band D property.
This has been achieved from a Council Tax Freeze Grant of £77,037 from the government.
Regeneration schemes for Bamber Bridge, Penwortham, Longton, Lostock Hall and Leyland are also planned for 2015/16, and a new apprenticeship programme is being developed at the council.