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Multi-million pound investment in town centres; job-creating business schemes; new waste collection vehicles and additional grass cuts on urban roads are all part of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s spending plans for the coming year.


Cabinet is due to recommend its budget, including a maximum 8p a week council tax increase for 95 per cent of residents, to Full Council for approval in February.


With a legal requirement preventing councils from borrowing to run day-to-day services, the council has balanced its budget and remained debt-free while investing in communities, job creation and quality of life.


Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “Rising costs and additional demands for services are putting pressure on most councils in the country, which is why I’m pleased that Newcastle can balance its books and invest in things that matter to residents.


“We will be continuing the regeneration of Ryecroft, York Place and Midway, which will bring scores of homes, shops and a hotel to the town centre, along with a new clean safe car park for shoppers and visitors.


“We are investing in our historic market, bringing in a new fleet of green vehicles for waste collection, parks maintenance and cutting roadside weeds, and – as the current overall winners of Britain in Bloom – we will be working with communities, businesses and volunteers to keep our communities looking smart.”


Other spending plans include progress on the to develop the Meadows Road site in Kidsgrove by building a ‘shared service hub’, which will provide a single venue for local services, increase footfall in the area and provide a base for community groups.


The project is part of the £17 million Kidsgrove Town Deal, which included money for Chatterley Valley West business park, Kidsgrove Sports Centre, improving the town’s train station and upgrading the canal.


Stephen Sweeney, Deputy Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Cabinet member for Finance, Town Centres and Growth, said: “This is a difficult time for local authorities so we must make every pound count.”


A recent Local Government Association report into the council’s performance during the last financial year highlighted work to reduce rough sleeping from 49 cases to six, winning ‘safer streets’ funding to address anti-social behaviour, reducing carbon emissions, developing a full programme of events to celebrate the Borough’s 850th anniversary and winning a 21thsuccessive Gold Award in Britain in Bloom – and the overall title for the first time.


Measuring the council against other, comparable authorities, the Borough Council was in the top performing 25 per cent for the low cost of collecting Council Tax, processing planning applications on time and receiving low numbers of complaints.


The authority was also in the top half of councils for low waste collection costs, high recycling rates and low numbers of fly-tipping incidents.


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