Council tax freeze for south Norfolk approved as hope offered to Wymondham climbing wall campaigners
22:20 23 February 2015
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012
Residents in south Norfolk will see no rise in their district council’s share of council tax bills for the seventh time in eight years.
Tonight a full meeting of South Norfolk Council approved freezing its share of council tax and voted in favour of a balanced budget.
It will mean the rate for a Band D property for 2015/16 in Wymondham, Loddon, Diss, Harleston and villages will remain at £130.68.
John Fuller, leader of the Conservative-run council, in speaking for the budget and council tax freeze said the measures would “keep more money in people’s pockets”.
It came, Mr Fuller said, as the authority was investing in improving “the daily lives” of residents across the district, such as building the Long Stratton bypass, investing in superfast broadband and the £4m boost to leisure centres at Wymondham, Diss and Long Stratton.
Mr Fuller also said that balanced budget predictions showed further freezes in council tax for a further three or four years and council reserves placed the authority in the strongest position for the challenges ahead.
He said: “The council has never been in a stronger position than today.”
The council tax was passed unanimously by councillors.
The Liberal opposition had proposed two amendments to the budget that asked for £50,000 to be spent on a new tourism website dedicated to south Norfolk and for £200,000 to be taken out of the £1m toilet improvement investment scheme, which has caused controversy with the first phase of work in Harleston, and be spent instead on local capital and infrastructure projects.
The amendments saw nine votes in favour and 32 against.
Before the debate on council tax and the budget, a petition was presented to the full council by campaigners fighting plans by the authority to get rid of the climbing wall at Wymondham Leisure Centre as it wants to boost other facilities there.
The petition was presented by Marc Suhrcke, who said that since 2007 the climbing wall has been “under exploited” by the council and there was no shortage of evidence at other leisure centres that climbing walls can work.
But the campaigners were told the council had been in negotiations with an unnamed village hall to install a climbing wall there so the climbers can still carry out their hobby.
Mr Fuller said: “There is a solution in our hands.”
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