Struggling council agrees £2m growth package

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A CASH-STRAPPED North Yorkshire council battling to make millions of pounds in savings has agreed a major 18-month growth package to help kickstart the local economy.

Selby District Council, which is faced with having to cut £3m across all its services during a four-year period from its annual £11m revenue budget, has agreed an initial £2m investment to support the new programme for growth.

The council says the money will help create a new long-term planning vision supporting new homes, bringing more empty homes back into the market and supporting business growth.

It also includes a commitment to support the revitalisation of the centres of Selby, Tadcaster and Sherburn-in-Elmet, through help with marketing the areas and improvements to infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the programme for growth also includes a commitment to provide the best possible leisure facilities on the site of the Abbey Leisure Centre - which was devastated by a huge fire earlier this year - either through a reinstatement of the previous facilities or a brand new building.

Leader of the council, Coun Mark Crane, said: “These are all practical things we’ll do to support new jobs, housing and local infrastructure, retail and leisure.

“We’ve taken radical action to restructure the way we do things and that’s given us this chance to invest in our district at a time when others are cutting back.

“These are actions that will make a real difference to our area and deliver long-term improvements - actions that have only been made possible because of our strong leadership over the past year.”

Earlier this month, the council confirmed it is the latest local authority which is having to look to outside organisations to help manage parks, woods and commons as it battles to make multi-million pound savings.

The new arrangements, which will go out for consultation later this year before being introduced, are due to see the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust take on a 99-year lease for Barlow Common.

Hambleton Hough will be leased under similar arrangements to the Church Fenton-based Wildlife Habitat Protection Trust.