Budget boost for Major Projects and Leisure – Library internet, local economy and regeneration set for investment as part of budget

A strategic vision for improving the area and regenerating the local economy, as well as funding for free concessionary internet use in Libraries, have formed key parts of the Conservative budget for the Major Projects and leisure portfolio this year.

The ‘Development and Major Projects’ portfolio, which also includes leisure, tourism and employment, has played an increasingly central role in Bath and North East Somerset over recent years as past lessons are learned and projects such as Combe Down Stone Mines have made major progress. Local Conservatives have said that as part of this year’s Council budget they want to build on this success by continuing investment in the ‘Visions’ for Norton-Radstock, Keynsham and Bath, as well as improving the appearance of public spaces and ensuring appropriate regeneration plans for the Lower Bristol Road.

Also included in the Conservative budget plans is funding to maintain a period of free internet use in B&NES Libraries for concessionary users. Following a Council motion tabled by Labour Councillor David Speirs, the Conservatives have said they agree with a targeted approach to ensuring a period of free internet use to those who might otherwise not be able to afford it is an effective use of Council money.

The Conservative plans for the Development and Major Projects portfolio include:

– £20,000 to provide a period of free internet use in Council Libraries for those previously entitled to concessionary rates.
– £100,000 towards the Lower Bristol Road Regeneration Plan
– £200,000 towards allowing the work on the ‘Visions’ to continue, ensuring that each area within B&NES has a clear regeneration development plan.
– £50,000 to promote the local economy and B&NES as a tourist and business destination.

Councillor Terry Gazzard (Bath, Abbey Ward), the Conservative Cabinet Member in charge of Major Projects and Leisure, said:

“Bath and North East Somerset is currently seeing some really exciting developments come to fruition and it is important that this continues in order to boost our local economy. As part of this year’s budget, we will be setting aside funds to continue work on developing strategic visions for the whole of B&NES and promote the area as a prime tourist and business destination. This includes continuing the work we have started on the ‘Public Realm’, which will vastly improve the appearance of public spaces.”