'Plenty to look forward to' in county's spending plans for 2022

By Gavin McEwan   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Wednesday 2nd February 2022 5:00 pm
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Herefordshire can look forward to “a lot of new and exciting spending projects” in 2022.

That is what the council’s member for finance, corporate services and planning Liz Harvey told fellow budget holders this week.

The council will shortly bring forward plans for a new care home to be built to the council’s sustainability standard. “We are progressing a business case including an options appraisal on various sites,” cabinet member for health and adult wellbeing Pauline Crockett said.

Similarly, though not yet in the capital spending programme, the council is also looking at setting up a children’s home, cabinet member for children’s and family services, Cllr Diana Toynbee said.

“We are currently scoping options create our own facilities for children and young people in the county, to keep them close to their support networks, and to reduce the amount of public money that ends up in very expensive private facilities,” she explained.

Investment is also planned to make schools at Colwall, Peterchurch, Marlbrook and Brookfield “more accessible for children with a wide range of needs”, Coun Toynbee added.

On housing, the council has appointed design teams for its two confirmed building programmes at its Holme Lacy and Aylestone Hill sites, member for housing Cllr Ange Tyler said.

The council has also begun buying up properties to house rough sleepers using a £420,000 government grant, which it has match-funded. This will buy “up to six” homes, with offers already accepted on three, which “should be occupied by May”, Cllr Tyler said.

Member for commissioning, procurement and assets Gemma Davies confirmed the council intends to create a “new, modern, world-class visitor attraction at the heart of the city” in the current museum and library building, while retaining its historic exterior.

The council will match-fund £5 million from the Government’s Stronger Towns Fund (STF) with the same amount, “which we are hoping to achieve through a heritage lottery grant”, she added.

Similarly the council will match-fund STF money to re-house the library in the Maylord Centre, which will also house a “re-use community café”.

On transport, Cllr John Harrington said: “We are investing over £5 million in infrastructure and highways capital over the next two years, and we have £2 million going into the market towns, because of the lobbying of a lot of town councillors.”

A further £400,000 will go towards shoring up a bank on the A4113 at Leintwardine, “or we potentially lose that road”, he added. “And we are putting £300,000 into bus shelters.”

In all, the council has earmarked £32 million for 12 capital investment proposals, through capital grants, returns on capital investment, reserves and borrowing.

But Cllr Harvey stressed: “Approval of provision in the capital programme is not approval to proceed with the individual projects.”

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