Investment in environment and local services in Stroud District Council budget proposals

A budget which invests in more renewable energy projects; better walking, cycling and public transport access; extra funding to improve play areas; funding for homes for people fleeing conflict, and freezing charges in all but two of Stroud town’s car parks will be considered by councilors next week.

The proposed rise of 2.99% or 13p per week for a Band D property is significantly lower than inflation, and the budget helps fund key services which residents rely on.

Catherine Braun, leader of Stroud District Councilsaid: “We as a council have declared a cost-of-living emergency because we know that rising prices and bills are affecting so many of our residents.”

“That has been at the forefront of our minds in setting a proposed budget which remains ambitious and invests in the future.”

Included in the proposed budget is more funding for projects benefitting the environment including £764,000 towards renewable energy projects at the Pulse and Stratford Park leisure centers and the Museum in the Park; an additional half a million pounds for walking and cycling schemes, including accessibility for public spaces; £150,000 on top of £300,000 already committed to play areas, for Stratford Park; and part-funding for homes for people fleeing conflict. The council is also proposing to continue with 100% Council Tax support for people in need.

Car parking charges are proposed to remain the same for short stay and long stay parking in the four largest car parks in Stroud. This means that 85% of chargeable bays will see no price rise. The only rises proposed are for the short-stay only car parks at Church Street and Rowcroft, and the biggest rise will be an extra 50p for a three-hour stay at Rowcroft, from £2.50 to £3. This follows two meetings with Stroud Town Council and Stroud & District Chamber of Trade.

Natalie Bennett, Deputy Leader of Stroud District Councilsaid: “We have consulted with and listened to Stroud Town Council and the Stroud & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce about changes to parking fees in the town.”

“Given the financial pressures which are affecting local businesses as well as residents, we felt it was really important to freeze the majority of car parking fees, to encourage people to continue to visit Stroud.”

An average council tax rise of 13p per week per household is proposed, which means an increase of 2.99% for Band D households for Stroud District Council services only.

The council’s services include waste and recycling, planning, environmental health, parking, parks and recreation, leisure centres, The Museum in the Park, canal restoration, animal welfare, benefits administration and advice, elections, youth work, upkeep of open spaces including Selsley Common and Cam Peak and Long Down upkeep, plus licensing and flood management.

Stroud District Council and the district itself were once again rated well above the national average in the most recent independently conducted residents and businesses satisfaction survey.

On Thursday, February 2, members of the Strategy and Resources Committee will consider a budget report which, if approved, recommends the budget to the Full Council, where all elected members can vote on it, on Thursday, February 16.

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