Council Tax to rise as Wyre’s budget for the year ahead is set

Wyre Council bosses have set out the borough’s spending plans for the year ahead.

As part of the approved budget, Council Tax on a band D property will rise by £6.57 (2.99%) which equates to13p per week. Wyre Council collects Council Tax on behalf of several authorities that provide services in the area; however, Wyre’s portion represents just over 10% of the total bill.

Councillor Michael Vincent, Leader of Wyre Council introduced the budget saying: “We are always conscious that Wyre residents trust us with their money and we take that trust very seriously. By taking difficult, but sensible decisions now, we can avoid cuts to services in the future and ensure we continue to provide excellent value for money for all our residents. From April, the overall cost for our services for a Band D property will be just 62p per day, or £226.31 per year.

“Over the years, we have continued to navigate challenging times shrewdly, remaining debt free, whilst introducing a new ambitious Council Plan and managing the resources needed to support its delivery. By setting a balanced budget yet again, we are demonstrating that we are delivering on our commitment to be a stable, well-run, forward-thinking council that puts customers first.

“Over the last 12 months, we have supported our communities, reducing the amount of Council Tax paid by our most vulnerable residents. Since April 2023, we have allocated nearly £1 million of Household Support Funding (HSF), helping those who have been worst affected by the increases in energy prices and cost of living pressures. The welcome extension of the HSF and additional grant will allow us to continue to do so. We’ve also supported food banks in the borough, a local domestic violence charity and provided support for new school uniforms alongside the traditional voucher and one-off payment schemes.

“We continue to offer a huge range of activities to boost the health and wellbeing of our communities. These range from the Holiday Activity and Food Clubs for children on free school meals to hundreds of guided walks and outdoor activities. We successfully secured £142,000 of funding for pools at Fleetwood, Poulton and Garstang leisure centres from the Government’s Swimming Pool Support Fund in November to offset energy and related costs, with more expected. Along with our ‘Wyre Moving More’ campaign, this investment will ensure these venues remain sustainable and encourage local people to take up sport and embrace active, healthy lifestyles.

“We remain committed to supporting local businesses through our free Wyred Up network and Wyre Business Awards. Our network membership continues to rise and we launch a dedicated Tourism Network last year, enabling us to work more closely with the sector to offer support and promotional opportunities.

“We’ve hosted hundreds of events and facilitated dozens more increasing visitor numbers by over one million last year and providing opportunities for the community to come together. Most memorable were the Coronation Celebrations during the Garstang Walking Festival last May, which saw a thousand people join us for live music, entertainment and a walk through the town and Millennium Green to celebrate the King’s Coronation. Our 2024 events programme builds upon recent new additions, such as our successful older persons’ festive get together, the Coronation Walk in Garstang and free family theatre. We will soon announce plans for a large-scale Family Festival in summer and a Star Wars event in Cleveleys.

“We received a £3.9M allocation of Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund and £400,000 from the Rural England Prosperity Fund allowing us to progress several projects across the borough aimed at improving life-chances, boosting the economy and building stronger, resilient communities. The projects will address skills gaps, increase employability and improve wellbeing through leisure and arts activities. The money will also support businesses to thrive, innovate and reduce their carbon footprint.

“Works are almost complete on the £3.9 million improvement and decarbonisation works to Fleetwood Market and we’re progressing our vital £450m Wyre Beach Management coastal defence scheme. Phase two work is underway at Fleetwood, following the success of the earlier works in Cleveleys during 2023. This important project will significantly reduce the risk of coastal erosion and flooding to more than 11,000 properties and provide critical infrastructure in the area.

“We know the safety of our towns and villages is of paramount importance to residents, so we’re pleased to be in the final stages of our work to upgrade our town centre CCTV network, which includes replacing all existing cameras across our four towns.

“As part of our Climate Change Strategy, in addition to supporting local businesses in their own journey to net zero, we have planted almost 17,000 trees across Wyre, installed local electric vehicle charging points, enhanced the energy efficiency of Council buildings and we are switching our fleet to run on innovative Hydro treated Vegetable Oil (HVO) to reduce our carbon footprint.

“This year has shown what a truly fantastic place Wyre is to live and work in. In a recent ‘Life in Wyre’ survey, over 75% of respondents told us they were satisfied or very satisfied with their local area as a place to live and I want to take this moment to especially congratulate our ‘In Bloom’ volunteers and Churchtown in particular for their recent triumphs. Our communities remain at the heart of everything we do, so we will continue to explore new ways of working to ensure we excel in providing value-for-money, high quality services for the residents and businesses across Wyre.”

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