Council invests in homes and broadband

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HUNDREDS of affordable new homes and a million pound investment in broadband improvements will be provided by East Lindsey District Council without increasing council tax.

Announcing the council’s 2012/2013 budget on Wednesday, portfolio holder for finance Coun John Upsall said: “This was an important budget for the council and through rigorous financial management and planning we’ve successfully made the savings required to agree a balanced budget without an impact on front line services.”

Major projects outlined in the budget include a £2.5million investment in providing 210 affordable homes before 2015 in partnership with Waterloo Housing Group.

With additional contributions from the Homes and Communities Agency, Portfolio holder for housing Coun William Gray hopes this substantial development will help to address the district’s 7,657 strong housing waiting list.

He said: “The gap between the number of people on the housing waiting list and the availability of homes is ever increasing and this investment will help to address this issue in a positive way.”

The homes will include 40 rural rental properties and 170 town properties of which 150 will be for rent and 20 for shared ownership.

ELDC hopes to supplement its own investment by imposing 106 agreements on commercial housing developers insisting that a percentage of all new developments over 15 homes are put aside for affordable housing.

In the past four years 247 new homes have been secured as a result of that policy.

One million pounds will also be invested in a county-wide project to ensure that at least 90 per cent of homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband by 2015.

ELDC’s contribution, matched by the county’s other district councils will supplement the £10million invested by the project leaders - Lincolnshire County Council and substantial private sector financing to cover the total costs estimated at £57million.

Portfolio holder for the economy Coun Craig Leyland said: “Improved internet connection speeds will enhance the district as a place to live and work, providing a huge boost for businesses who will be able to improve their competitiveness, develop new markets and create new jobs.”

Funding these major projects while freezing one of the country’s lowest council tax rates and attempting to cope with a £2.4million net revenue reduction has required significant savings.

Removing vacant staff positions and reshuffling the senior management structure has saved more than £1.25 million, while sharing back line services with South Holland District Council through Compass Point Business Services will save a further £1.4million every year.