Daventry district councillors back new budget aiming to stop the authority relying on Government grants

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Generating extra income and cutting costs is the focus of Daventry District Council’s draft budget.

Councillors approved the authority’s draft budget proposals for 2016/17 on Thursday night.

Members agreed a number of proposed new schemes and projects to be added in to the Medium-term Financial Plan – a five-year strategy which aims to reduce the council’s reliance on Government funding.

DDC is expecting a 10 per cent cut to its Government grant in 2016/17. It is making plans to bridge the deficit with projects including income from ‘invest-to-save’ projects.

Council staff have also reviewed team budgets to identify revenue savings totalling £157,000, largely as a result of reducing back office costs and supplies across the organisation.

In 2016/17 the council’s revenue budget – money spent on the day-to-day running of services – will be slightly increased to fund a new Economic Development Officer to support existing businesses and help attract fresh investment into the district.

Capital spending, such as money invested in land and property, will also be reviewed to include a series of proposed new schemes aimed at improving the local community and economy.

These include:

New Homes 2 – A £7.65 million scheme by the council to build a minimum of 50 new homes for market sale, to help meet growing local housing demand while generating a financial return that the council could then invest into other projects.

The canal arm boatlift application – £110,000 towards producing a planning application for a new boatlift on the proposed Daventry Canal Arm, creating a regional and potentialy national tourist attraction to help drive investment in to the district.

A new cycle track and footpath from Timken to the Old Railway Line in Daventry – £103,000 of Section 106 funding from developers will be used to create a new link from the pocket park next to Mayfield Park Sports Club, Timken to the Railway Line Cycle Track. The proposals follow on from cycle track already constructed along the former railway line between Middlemore and Welton Road, with future aspirations to continue the route to Braunston.

Councillor Chris Long, resources portfolio holder at Daventry District Council, said: “Our budget proposals for next year go hand in hand with our ongoing work to build a robust financial plan over the next five years.

“Our financial strategy is to make the council self-sustainable, to reduce our reliance on Government grants and the inevitable peaks and troughs in public sector funding.

“This has involved some tough choices for us in recent years and we currently find ourselves in a stable position. However it’s important for us to ensure we continue to regularly review and revise our financial plans in the light of changing circumstances.

“We have set out a challenging and innovative capital spending programme for the years ahead that focuses on delivering projects to help achieve our vision to Develop a Better District.”

DDC will now finalise its budget for 2016/17 at a meeting of Full Council on Thursday, February 25 2016.