Despite continuing to deal with the Covid pandemic, storms and the challenges of bringing together all five councils in Somerset, coupled with the fact that nearly all staff working from home for nearly two years , Sedgemoor District Council has yet again set a balanced budget with no cuts to public services for the coming financial year.
Cllr Duncan McGinty, Leader of Sedgemoor District Council presented the last formal SDC budget as an inclusive, joint budget from the leaders of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat political parties in Sedgemoor.
The emphasis over the past year has been on continuing to support residents and businesses throughout the Coronavirus crisis, whilst delivering frontline services and taking opportunities to kick-start economic recovery.
The budget showed that there is a firm commitment to press ahead with ambitious plans to invest just over £5m so that Sedgemoor’s services and projects can be handed over in terrific shape to the new Somerset Council at the end of March 2023.
Announcements in the budget speech included:-
- £500,000 additional funding into work towards preparing for the new council.
- £20,000 to add to the £1.5m for spent since 2015, training and developing our 55 apprentices.
- £775,000 into four community halls across the district with specific needs.
- £500,000 fund for rural village or community halls. This will make sure that they continue to be the cornerstone of their communities; an invaluable and important part of neighbourhood life and are mostly run by hard-working volunteer committees.
- £150,000 for playground equipment across the district, along with additional funding for ongoing maintenance. This will speed up the replacement of aging equipment with modern, brighter and more ‘play value’ for our younger residents.
- £100,000 to take over the management of Brean Beach, at the request of Brean Parish Council. Monies will make sure that we are fully staffed and equipped; beach vehicles, improvements to toilets and facilities.
- £180,000 to continue to support Citizens Advice Sedgemoor.
- £171,000 for specific Bridgwater-based projects
- £12,000 towards lighting for the YMCA skatepark
- £30,000 plus £50,000 CIL funds to the Meads Eco Park for the provision of a board walk to give all year access and support to the Parkrun route
- £20,000 for Bridgwater Sports Project Bridgwater to be set aside for the development of a feasibility study in partnership with Bridgwater United FC to develop a new sports hub; children’s play area and dog walking area within Bristol Road Playing Fields;
- £20,000 to continue the excellent work of the Sydenham and Highbridge pantry projects;
- £20,000 to develop a feasibility study into the provision of a community facility in Bower
- £19,000 towards a feasibility study into the future use of the Penel Orleiu Classic buildings.
Within other parts of Sedgemoor
- £50,000 into a Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge High Street task-force;
- £50,000 for a feasibility study for the Strawberry Line in Cheddar;
- £100,000 to fund ‘Changing Places’ toilets installed in Burnham and
- £50,000 for four all-terrain wheelchairs to make visitor attractions in Sedgemoor accessible.
SDC’s proportion of the council tax is to increase the Band D tax by £5 per annum.