Council invests millions on projects to create a 'brighter future' for North Somerset
- Credit: Archant
Millions of pounds are being invested in projects to improve North Somerset as the district prepares for its post-Covid recovery.
North Somerset Council unanimously approved its budget of £171.317million for 2021/22 on Tuesday night – which will mean a 1.99 per cent increase in council tax for residents, as well as a three per cent levy for adult social care.
The authority said it wants to invest in the future and ‘build back better’, with exciting plans for Weston including the regeneration of the seafront, £700,000 investment into North Somerset's ‘great lakes’ and improvements to public highways and transport infrastructure.
Funding has also been allocated to the new business plan for the Sovereign Shopping Centre - to stimulate the town’s economic recovery - and a transport hub for Alexandra Parade.
Cllr Ash Cartman, the authority’s executive member for finance, said: “It’s been a difficult year. We faced a £26million shortfall at the end of July but, with a combination of in year savings and Government support, we will end the year with a balanced budget.
“There’s so much going on in Weston now. The new SeaQuarium owners are already in there fitting it out, we’re investing in Marine Lake, we’ve established a working party to look at the Tropicana, and improvements have started in Alexandra Parade.
"We’ve also got big plans for Sovereign Centre. There’s lots of exciting stuff coming down the track.”
The budget also sets out proposals to support leisure centres, to reopen the Playhouse Theatre and invest in schools including the Winterstroke Hundred Academy and Baytree School expansion.
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Cllr Mike Bell said: “I've been a councillor for around 20 years and I think this is the first budget where I feel really optimistic that we are making North Somerset better.
“For a lot of the past 10 years we have spent time making difficult choices about what do we cut, what do we reduce.
"This budget involves investment into priorities of the community and it will bring to life our ambitions.”
Council leaders also confirmed plans to turn the Tropicana into a flagship venue for Weston.
Cllr Cartman added: “We want to make it a destination venue – something people will come into Weston for. It could be an arts venue or entertainment venue.
"We want something that draws people in as a flagship for Weston. We are looking at ideas and putting funding behind it.”
"After years of cuts in budgets by previous administrations, this budget moves us forward towards a brighter future, delivering for local people.”