SPENDING plans with investments worth £13million have been voted through by Worcester City Council- with parking charges frozen and a council tax rise of three per cent included.
The Conservative administration’s spending plans for 2016/17 were voted through at a full council meeting last Tuesday (February 23), which now means city residents living in band D properties can expect to see their council tax bills rise by £5 this year.
Investments include the opening of the new £10.5million eight-lane swimming pool in Perdiswell, a £260,000 boost to The Commandery to help make it into a national Civil War themed visitor attraction and improved facilities at Gheluvelt Park.
Drivers will also benefit from a freeze in car parking charges for the second year in a row.
City Council leader Marc Bayliss said: “Many types of council will have to make more cuts to services in 2016/17 but I am proud that the Conservatives’ prudent management of Worcester’s finances have put us in a position where we can invest for the future.
“Our Corporate Plan is all about expressing pride in the city’s past and delivering a focus on its future and it is great news that we can move forward with the Plan’s ambitious aims, including opening the new pool and making the most of our history and heritage.”
During the debate over the budget, the Labour group successfully secured funding for a one-off £25,000 grant for Worcester Community Trust, and £20,000 to put towards the apprentices scheme after their amendments were backed by the Conservative leadership team.
However, leader of the Labour group at the Guildhall, Coun Adrian Gregson, said his party voted against the overall budget because of savings being made through privatisation of some services.
“My concern is that the whole budget and its plans to make savings is based on privatising the clean and green services – yet there is no clear idea of what the saving from it will be by going through privatisation,” Coun Gregson said.