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 STOKE-ON-TRENT, NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME, STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS, SOUTH CHESHIRE

CHESHIRE EAST COUNCIL: Budget proposals



Three tips could close this year, the garden bin fee could increase next year and parking charges could rise annually under proposals in Cheshire East’s budget for 2024/25.

This is on top of a proposed 4.99 per cent hike in council tax.

The council already indicated household waste recycling centres (HWRC) at Middlewich, Poynton and Bollington were under threat when, in October last year, the environment and communities committee decided to consult later this year on three possible options to save money.

But residents are now being asked for their views on the ‘emergency reduction of HWRCs to four core sites at Alsager, Crewe, Knutsford and Macclesfield from April 1, 2024, in advance of the formal HWRC review being presented to committee later in 2024’.

It is estimated this would save the council £750,000.

Altogether, the environment and communities committee needs to save £4m over the next financial year and has drawn up a list of seven proposals to make savings or increase revenue.

These include reviewing leisure services and working with town and parish councils to help fund library provision.

The new garden waste bin charge could also go up from £56 to £59.

The highways division needs to make savings of £900,000 in the next financial year.

One proposal is to revise maintenance practices in winter service, grass cutting, gully emptying and weed treatment, along with the repair of carriageways, footways, highway structures and trees to save £750,000.

Another is to introduce annual parking increases alongside the other potential changes due to be decided upon later this month. This would generate a possible additional income of £150,000.

The council is looking to save the most – £5.6m – in its adults and health division.

The proposals include a possible increase in fees and charges.

And children and families needs to make savings of £5.2m.

Proposals here include removing the council’s subsidy to the school catering budget and reducing discretionary post-16 travel support to young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The corporate policy committee has come up with seven proposals to save £4.8m in its department.

These include reducing expenditure on leadership by leaving senior posts vacant temporarily and charging parishes and town councils for all parish-related election costs.

Staff overtime costs would also be cut with the council aiming to ‘eliminate’ agency spending as far as possible.

There is also a proposal to close the emergency assistance scheme which supports vulnerable people.

Plans to make £800,000 savings in the economy and growth division include not filling some vacant posts and reducing the opening hours for main council offices at Crewe and Macclesfield.

Yesterday, during a meeting of the finance sub-committee, chair Nick Mannion (Lab) urged all residents to participate in the consultation.

“Please read it, please respond and please share it as widely as possible,” he said.

And in a statement issued this week Cheshire East leader Sam Corcoran (Lab) stressed all councils are going through an extremly difficult time financially.

“We must be realistic and make responsible decisions about prioritising our spend with limited resources,” he said.

“We must put supporting the people who need our help the most, ahead of many other things we would like to do – and that many people want us to do – including further investment in road maintenance, local recycling centres, libraries and leisure services.”

The consultation is open until 11.59pm on January 28, 2024.

Paper copies will also be available at local libraries.

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