South Ribble Borough Council is investing in a happy, healthy and prosperous future for its residents, with an ambitious growth budget, passed at last night’s full council meeting.
The £13m annual budget underpins the council’s new Corporate Plan – a five-year plan detailing wide-ranging improvements for the people of South Ribble and how the council will deliver them.
The Corporate Plan sets out the council’s vision, to be “a council that is recognised for being innovative, forward-thinking and financially self-sufficient, whilst putting people at the heart of everything with do.”
Over the next five years, the council will invest more than £42m in improving services for residents and transforming the way the council works. It aims to deliver under three main priorities:
PLACE – ensuring South Ribble continues to be recognised nationally as the best place in the UK to live and do business.
- £2.5m improvements to Penwortham, Lostock Hall and Leyland town centres
- Continuing work on Cuerden, which will bring 4,500 new jobs, up to 210 new homes and a new IKEA to the area
- Looking at feasibility of opening up River Ribble frontage for leisure use
- Creating an ‘Apprentice Factory’ to support young people and businesses
- £2.5m invested in supporting the building of affordable new homes and a further £2.75m in disabled facilities grants to ensure people can continue living in their homes for as long as possible
HEALTH AND WELLBEING – a pledge that every resident will have access to facilities that will enable them to lead an active and healthy life.
- Creating a health, leisure and wellbeing campus in Leyland with partners in health and education, including a new £15m leisure centre
- Improving outdoor open leisure space
- Investing in the community with the South Ribble Partnership
- Improving Worden Park in Leyland, with new toilet facilities and a refurbished conservatory.
- Looking to create a sports pitch hub with artificial grass pitches.
- Supporting the community, volunteering, social isolation and loneliness by funding the South Ribble Partnership.
- Developing the Lancashire mental health strategy and continuing to work on being an official dementia-friendly borough.
- Improving air quality
- Continuing development of Central Parks
FINANCIAL EXCELLENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY – taking an entrepreneurial approach to ensure the council is financially self-sufficient when central government funding is withdrawn in 2019/20.
- Feasibility study on revamping the Civic Centre and Worden Arts Centre, in Leyland for commercial use, including possible conferencing facilities and events.
- Looking into providing MOTs at the council’s vehicle depot
- Going digital – transforming our services
- Sharing some services with neighbouring Chorley Borough Council
Councillor Peter Mullineaux, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: “This year we are announcing much more than an annual budget for South Ribble – we are announcing our vision for the future, and a five-year plan of how we will get there.
“We want South Ribble to be a place with high employment, good schools, with access to affordable homes, high life expectancy, and a place where people feel safe.
“However, like all public services, we are facing significant challenges and pressure to become financially self-sufficient, whilst continuing to meet the demand for services and needs of our residents, businesses and partners.
“This year we are changing the way we are organised and do business. This means playing an active role in leading the growth agenda for the borough and taking an entrepreneurial approach to how we work.
“Our goal is to make South Ribble the best place to live and work, not only for our residents today, but for their children and their children’s children.”
At last night’s meeting, councillors agreed to raise council tax by 2.99 per cent – which works out at £6.23 a year - for an average Band D property, and will raise £221,000 towards investing in the borough’s future.
Although South Ribble Borough Council collects council tax from residents, it only keeps around 12.5p in every pound it collects – with the remaining money going to Lancashire County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, and Lancashire Combined Fire and Rescue Authority.