Town centre regeneration and affordable homes included in budget proposals

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council budget

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has set out its budget proposals for 2021/22. - Credit: Archant

A proposed budget for the year ahead in Welwyn Hatfield includes no cuts to frontline services despite the financial pressures from COVID-19.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has set out plans to bridge its budget funding gap, including £960k in efficiency savings from service reviews as part of its ongoing modernisation programme.

The council will also receive a new lower tier services grant of £124k to help fund increasing pressures on services provided at district level - including homelessness, planning, recycling and refuse collection, and leisure services. Meanwhile core grant funding from central government will continue to reduce, as it has in previous years.

More than £18 million has been set aside for investment as part of the five-year capital spending programme.

This will go towards town centre regeneration, the revitalisation of High View neighbourhood centre in South Hatfield, a new crematorium and the redevelopment of Tewin Road depot in Welwyn Garden City in partnership with Herts County Council.

The council will invest in affordable homes, with over £70 million reserved for the affordable housing programme and over £52 million put aside for investment in existing council housing stock.

This year council tax is expected to rise by 1.97 per cent, with proposals to increase the average Band D tax by £4.23 to £219.15 for 2021/22.

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Cllr Duncan Bell, executive member for resources, said: “With ever-increasing uncertainty ahead, we must keep finding innovative ways of saving money and generating income while protecting the services our residents rely on.

Cllr Duncan Bell

Cllr Duncan Bell, executive member for resources at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. - Credit: WHBC

“In what has been an extraordinary year, I’m really proud of what we have still managed to achieve for our communities, including supporting them through the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, the launch of Splashlands, unveiling HatTech Business Centre and giving more local families keys to their new, affordable homes.

“That investment in our communities will continue as we strive to make a positive difference and help make Welwyn Hatfield an even better place to live, work and spend time.”

The budget proposals will be discussed at a meeting of the council's cabinet this evening.