Winners and losers as spending and cuts in Norwich decided


- Credit: EDP pics © 2007

There were winners and losers last night as Norwich City Council set its budget for the next 12 months.

People in Norwich will see the share of the council tax they pay to City Hall increase by 1.95pc from April, council tenants will see a rent increase and a package of cuts and savings was agreed.

But the city council also pledged a string of improvements, including spending millions to build new houses, to upgrade existing council homes and to breathe new life into parks and footpaths.

The council tax increase will add between £3.05 to £4.58 extra a year for the majority of city householders.

Someone in a Band B property will pay the city council £186.15 a year, up £3.56 on the current £182.59 a year. Somebody in a Band D property will pay £239.34 a year, up £4.58 on this year's £234.76.

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The county council froze its share of the tax, while the police portion is increasing by a little under 2pc.

The city council set a budget of just over £17m for 2015/16, with a package of £2.6m of proposed extra income and savings.

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Much of that will be back office savings, but it will mean increased charges for allotments and for cemetery fees, while the council is also looking to generate an extra £150,000 from car parking.

But money will be spent on capital projects, including £4.3m towards the development of the Three Score site at Bowthorpe, which will include 120 council-owned homes.

Some £250,000 will be spent to improve the Marriott's Way between Norwich and Thorpe St Andrew, while money is also earmarked for Waterloo Park, Wensum View Park and The Runnel play area.

More than £14m will be spent to improve council houses, partly paid for through a 2.2pc increase in rent for 15,500 council house tenants.

The council also agreed a minimum level of £4.47m should be kept back in reserves.

Deputy leader Alan Waters said: 'We have a strategy designed to invest in the city to meet the needs of the city, but, faced, I fear, with a model of local government finance that will have to change.'

The budget was agreed by 21 votes to 14, with three abstentions.

A defeated Green amendment proposed a separate £180,000 budget for repairs to community centres, £50,000 to cover tree re-planting outside of conservation areas and £20,000 to unblock gulleys, while £65,000 less would be spent on grass cutting to help wildflowers and insects flourish.

A defeated Liberal Democrat amendment had proposed a council tax freeze. It had also proposed a £61,000 reduction in the human resources and democratic services budget.

What do you think? Write, giving your full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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