3rd Aug, 2020

Independents' alternative budget makes case for free swimming and better public transport

Harry Leach 21st Feb, 2020

BROMSGROVE’S largest opposition group has called for swimming to become a free activity for Bromsgrove’s under 18s to promote health and wellbeing.

Bromsgrove Alliance included the proposed scheme in its alternative budget ahead of Wednesday’s full council budget meeting.

It is proposing to spend in the following three areas – town centre regeneration, the environment and leisure and heritage.

Members want to see three shopper/shuttle minibuses connecting outlying communities to the town centre to reduce car use and social isolation.

The estimated revenue running cost would be £32,000 per bus, with routes from the railway station to the town centre and through areas Wythall, Alvechurch, Barnt Green and further afield.

The Alliance also wants the council to invest in 13 electric cars at the cost of £325,000.

The council currently spends £63,000 on staff mileage charges per year.

And on leisure and heritage, it is suggested the council spends £15,000-per-year supporting Bromsgrove’s three museums to increase tourism in the town.

Alliance leader Coun Sue Baxter said: “The people of Bromsgrove are paying significant tax increases and deserve value for money.

“We are fortunate we have gifted and qualified members who can intelligently and objectively study the council’s finances and offer realistic solutions.

“This budget is not a cheap, unrealistic wish list to please the public.

“Rather it is a feasible assessment of where we can save and how we can better spend.”

Bromsgrove Alliance said it had identified more than £500,000 in savings after going through Bromsgrove District Council’s finances with a ‘fine tooth comb’.

Among the independents’ criticisms were the Tories had ‘made large over-estimates of their liabilities which did not have to be paid within this year’ and ‘had budgeted for an unnecessary spend on external consultants’.

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