Herefordshire’s budget for the year from April, and the council tax rise to cover it, have been approved.

There were no dissenting voices at a full meeting of Herefordshire councillors this morning to the proposed maximum 4.99 per cent council tax increase, which will mean an extra £89.15 over the year for an average band D household.

The council plans to spend £210.5 million in 2024/25 and intends making £19.5million “savings and efficiencies” across its services to balance its books.

Among spending pledges are an extra £300,000 for central Leominster’s heritage action zone, and £1m to develop “strategic” housing in the county.

There is also promised investment in improved road drainage, in the “lengthsman” scheme under which some road maintenance is devolved to parish authorities, and in the county’s public rights of way network.

Previously touted increases to parking charges and cuts to library opening hours have meanwhile been dropped following widespread public consultation.

Council leader Coun Jonathan Lester said: “Passing a balanced budget hasn’t been easy and we’ve had to take some tough decisions, but we’re confident this will support the long-term prosperity of Herefordshire and its residents.”

Green group leader Coun Ellie Chowns said: “It will cost an extra £43 million just to provide the same services next [financial] year as we do this year due to rising demand and inflation.

“But we don’t have £43 million, so we have to make £20 million of cuts to services. Local government is being squeezed dry.”