HYNDBURN Council has unveiled a budget which its Tory leader says has something for everyone.
Cleaner streets, more CCTV cameras, better allotments and a reduced age limit for heating grants are just some of the "goodies’’ on offer in the spending plans which were expected to be ratified at a full council meeting last night.
"And it’s all being done for a council tax rise below the rate of inflation", said Councillor Peter Britcliffe.
He was expected to announce that Hyndburn ratepayers face an overall rise of 3.75 per cent, taking into account county council, police and fire service figures.
Hyndburn Council’s own increase was likely to be 4.95 per cent, meaning householders in Band A would pay just 16p a week extra for local services.
Councillor Britcliffe said: "This is all down to our financial strength.
"We have really turned the finances of the council around and we can afford to improve services even though we have been short-changed to the tune of £750,000 by the Govern-ment, which has made us pick up the tab for concessionary bus travel."
He added: "We would like to thank people for the patience they have shown over the years and we are now in a position to reward that patience by providing the services they have been crying out for.
"We have been voted one of the top 20 places in the country to live and this budget is designed to keep it that way."
The budget includes:
* A £150,000 scheme to breathe new life into Oswaldtwistle Civic Theatre.
* Spending £110,000 on providing police community support officers and installing another 20 CCTV cameras.
* Renewing the floral market towns initiative – "Hyndburn will be in bloom again this summer", said Councillor Britcliffe.
* Spending £118,000 on the cleaner streets programme – the number of dirty streets in the borough has already been halved.
* Allocating £45,000 to improve allotments to make them attractive to families and young children and to meet the needs of the 21st century. This is part of the council’s green agenda which also includes extensive recycling at all council offices.
* Setting aside £27,000 for arts and cultural activities including celebrating the centenary of the Haworth Art Gallery.
* Reducing the age limit for "affordable warmth" grants from 60 to 55. This scheme, administered by Hyndburn Hom-ewise, gives non-means tested grants of up to £250 for such things as new boilers and loft insulation.
* Spending a million pounds over two years on refurbishing Accrington Market Hall.
The budget also includes cash for better disabled access to public buil-dings, for treating Japan-ese knotweed and for improving playing fields and children’s play areas, while £45,000 will be spent on Clayton-le-Moors Civic Hall.
But Councillor Brit-cliffe said the best pound-for-pound expenditure could be £5,000 on changing the borough’s "no waiting" signs to extend the time motorists can stay in the town centre.
He added: "We have resisted calls to introduce parking charges. As long as we are in power there will never be charges."