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Opposition group puts forward its own budget proposals





Liberal democrat councillors want to offer parking concessions to pensioners and create a new role at the council focused on Stratford’s economic recovery.

The ideas are being put forward as amendments to the ruling conservative group’s draft budget, on which councillors will vote on 8th February.

Earlier this month the Herald published a detailed report of the draft budget, revealing cuts to a number of key projects and long-term uncertainty over the funding of others.

The conservative group has pointed to an expected drop in government funding and the huge economic hit from the pandemic, as reasons for the gloomy budget.

However the liberal democrats say the plans could make Stratford’s economic recovery worse and have put forward a number of their own suggestions.

In a clear reaction to the planned removal of pensioner parking permits, the opposition group is proposing alternative parking concessions for the over 65s, such as ‘free after three’ or ‘three free hours’.

They are also calling for a new senior position at the council, focussed solely on the economic recovery of the district. Their role would include preparing bids quickly when funding opportunities arise.

Cllr Susan Juned, leader of the liberal democrat group, said: “'These are difficult times and the Conservatives should be supporting residents and businesses, but appear to be doing exactly the

opposite.

“Green bin charges, the removal of the pensioners' parking concession and the substantial increase in parking charges will hit many. We recently counted 44 retail premises in Stratford town centre that were either empty or closing down. Deterring people from visiting with higher parking

charges will do nothing to help retailers.

“The council should be working harder at bidding for government money, which appears to be the way this government allocates much of its funding. When the winning bids for the government's Future High Streets Fund were announced on 26th December, two Warwickshire towns were amongst the winners. Leamington was awarded £10 million and Nuneaton £13.3 million. Stratford district received nothing.”

She added: “I am keen to see the council move much more quickly in utilising the climate change fund set aside last year to benefit our communities. It's disappointing that things are not moving forward with more speed.”

The liberal democrat amendments will be considered by the full council on 8th February.



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