In a strategic move responding to Somerset Council’s financial challenges, Bridgwater Town Council announces its comprehensive budget for the financial year 2024/25. The town council is poised to take over major service delivery in Bridgwater from street cleaning, road sweeping to management of all parks and open spaces from Somerset Council, which faces a staggering £100 million plus deficit.
With Somerset Council having to make serious cuts and stopping service delivery across Somerset, Town and Parish Councils are having to step in and take over discretionary service delivery. It is a surprising fact that services that the public enjoy and expect on a regular basis, such as street cleaning, road sweeping, drain and gully clearing, fly tipping, litter bins, dog bins, play areas, parks and open spaces are not statutory services.
This bold decision reflects Bridgwater Town Council’s commitment to safeguard services and ensuring the continued well-being and quality of life for its residents. The town council’s budgetary allocation demonstrates a prudent approach, prioritising essential services while introducing innovative measures to enhance community life.
Key highlights of Bridgwater Town Council’s 2024/25 budget include:
- Service Delivery Enhancement: Bridgwater Town Council is dedicated to maintaining and improving key services such as street cleaning, community safety, ensuring a seamless transition for residents.
- Revitalised Parks and Open Spaces: With the assumption of responsibility for parks and open spaces, the town council aims to create vibrant, accessible, and sustainable green areas that promote community engagement and well-being. Investment will made this year with a Multi-Use Game Area and extra play equipment for Mansfield Park – we will shortly launch a consultation on design options. A full audit will take place on all play equipment with clear plan developed to improve provision and accessibility for all age groups of children.
- Financial Responsibility: Bridgwater Town Council emphasises fiscal responsibility, aiming to balance the budget effectively while safeguarding essential services. Transparent financial management practices will be a cornerstone of the council’s approach.
- Community Collaboration: Recognising the importance of community involvement, the town council will actively engage with residents to gather feedback and ideas, fostering a collaborative approach to service delivery and improvement. A new interactive website will be launched this year, with reporting tools for the community. Bridgwater Town Council will work with our neighbouring parishes to deliver services that will be cut in their parish to ensure an equality of service delivery for Bridgwater and its hinterland. This will also produce an income for the Bridgwater Town Council.
Councillor Brian Smedley Leader of Bridgwater Town Council said “This is a budget that will be crucial for Bridgwater’s security and prosperity in these times of cutbacks and uncertainty. Everywhere we see councils going bust, making people redundant, reducing services, and selling assets. But that isn’t the case in Bridgwater because we’re well ahead of the game and for a very modest increase of £2.34 on a Band A to £3.52 on a Band D property per week in our precept we are in fact saving jobs, making sure people get the services they need, preserving the assets that make the town what it is and, most importantly, running things better and that’s because we are taking back control from the big councils and running things ourselves as we always used to.”
David Mears, Town Clerk and CEO expressed confidence in the town council’s ability to successfully manage the additional responsibilities. “Bridgwater is a resilient community, and this move allows us to take control of our destiny. By assuming these services, we can tailor them and adapt quickly to the unique needs of our residents. Bridgwater Town Council is committed to serving the needs of its residents and enhancing the overall quality of life in the town. The council strives to create a vibrant and inclusive environment for all.”
As Bridgwater Town Council steps into this new phase of local governance, it remains dedicated to maintaining a high standard of public service delivery and fostering a sense of pride and community spirit among its residents.
Please see the Council Report on the on the Budget for more information.
End of Press Release.