Paignton set for £50,000 seafront lights
- Credit: Barbara Lewis
Paignton is set to get new seafront lighting with plans for a £50,000 investment added to Torbay Council’s budget.
The state of the lights at Paignton has been a regular complaint from local councillors.
Conservative Barbara Lewis, councillor for Roundham with Hyde, has reported complaints about broken lights from residents and visitors.
She raised the issue at a meeting of the council in November, and was told the lights would be repaired.
The extra £50,000 funding to replace the seafront lighting is now being proposed for the council’s spending in the next financial year, starting in April.
Other additional investments include £250,000 to start capital projects in the Torquay Town Deal and Paignton Future High Streets Fund programmes.
The council’s leadership of Liberal Democrats and Independents is also proposing £500,000 on a plan to help the local economy recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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The new items are expected to be included in a proposed budget to be considered by the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, January 19.
The council’s Liberal Democrat leader Steve Darling said it was expected that council tax would go up in April by the 4.99 per cent allowed by the Government. That includes a 1.99per cent increase in the core tax, with an extra three per cent to be ring-fenced for adult social care.
Cllr Darling said the Government had only issued its local government grant settlement for a single year, which made it impossible to plan further ahead and meant a council tax rise was unavoidable.
He said extra investment in children’s services this year, which had resulted in improvements and savings, had given the council more flexibility to make the extra investments next year and to restore reserves.
Cllr Darling said: “We have listened to everyone who had their say in our recent consultation. We have identified extra funding since the original proposal was put together and we want to reinvest this money into services that people say they want and need.
“When we prepared our initial budget proposals, we identified a number of financial pressures as a result of Covid-19. Now that we have received our final settlement from Government, we are able to release some of the funds we set aside in case they weren’t funded centrally. We now want to reinvest these in our communities.
“Some of this additional funding will be on a one off basis, such as replacing the Paignton seafront lights, as we are still facing financial pressures. But I hope our decision to reinvest in local services will give us more time to work with our communities on more long-term solutions.”
Deputy leader Darren Cowell said: “We are still working through the details of how much funding we have and exactly how it will be allocated, and all the details will be released soon.
“Over the last year we have made significant changes in the management and practice around children’s services. This was backed up with a significant financial investment in the service.
“We are now seeing improvements in the outcomes of our children and an overall financial benefit. This combined with confirmation about our revenue grant means we can re-invest in the priorities of our communities in the next financial year.
“However, we had considerable additional pressures on our finances this year, mainly due to the Covid pandemic and the majority of the recent funding announcements have not led to an increase in our budget for 2021/2022. Difficult decisions will still have to be made and we will need to continue to do more with less in future years.”
The final budget proposals will be published on January 19, with recommendations from the Cabinet made to a meeting of the full council on Thursday, February 11. If there are objections, it will be put off to a meeting two weeks later, when a final decision will be made and the council tax will be set for 2021/22.