At a full Council meeting held on Tuesday 28 February, Councillor Paul Mason, Broxbourne’s Cabinet Member for Finance, announced the annual budget for 2023/24 which was agreed nanimously.
The Council has agreed an increase in council tax of just £5, taking the annual charge for a Band D property to £153.24 a year, a 3.37% increase. Despite this increase, council tax in Broxbourne remains the lowest of English District councils when Parish precepts are included.
Although it collects council tax, Broxbourne Borough Council only keeps 7.8%.
The remaining amount is divided between Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) which receives 80.5% of the total bill, with the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire (PCC) receiving 11.7%.
The proposals outlined in the budget demonstrate the Council’s commitment to economic development and improving the lives of local residents, whilst ensuring the Council has the resources necessary to deliver quality services.
In the last 12 months, the planning application for the Sunset Waltham Cross Studios development has been approved, with construction expected to be complete in 2025. This development is expected to contribute £300million annually into the local economy as well as creating more than 4,000 jobs.
Construction of the new Theobalds Enterprise Centre in Cheshunt is now complete with businesses expected to take occupation in the summer. The centre will deliver a complete support package for small and medium sized businesses to start and grow, generating high-value jobs and opportunities for residents in the Borough. This will complement and further strengthen the Council’s own Economic Development offerings.
The Council has made a successful bid to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for £14.3million, which will be used to regenerate Waltham Cross Town Centre. Together with the Council’s own funding, this will mean a £16million programme of works to transform the look and feel of the town centre. Waltham Cross playing fields will also benefit from this investment with the refurbishment of the pavilion, installation of outdoor gym equipment, new walking track and skate bowl. Finally, enhancements to the community hub and skills training centre located in the town will improve job prospects for local people. More people each year will be able to access skills training provided at the hub, helping them to benefit from the new jobs that will be created at nearby developments, such as the Sunset Waltham Cross Studios.
To ensure that the Borough marks the historic occasion of the King’s coronation £25,000 has been set aside in the budget for events, dressing the Borough and community grants.
In order to progress the Council’s sustainability agenda, an additional £600,000 is being invested in energy-saving initiatives which will contribute to the target of reaching carbon net zero.
Councillor Paul Mason commented:
The projects throughout the Borough will unlock the hidden potential for our community, aiming for a more vibrant and welcoming place for our residents and the wider area. Having an ambitious budget shows that we’re a Council that is looking for ways to improve both the quality of life and the employment possibilities in Broxbourne.