Arun District Council approves 2022/2023 budget

At a special meeting of Arun District Council held on 23 February 2022, Councillors voted through the proposed budget for 2022/23, as introduced by Leader of the Council, Cllr Shaun Gunner.

The budget has been sensitively prepared as the Distrtic Council starts to move through the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and reflects an optimistic view for the area.

The Leader of Arun District Council delivered his budget speech during the meeting and highlighted some of the key aspects of the financial proposals for the following year, acknowledging that residents of Arun were waiting to see how the council will deliver on our priorities to make the district a great place to live, to work and to visit.

Cllr Gunner said “We are fortunate to represent the people of Arun, we know our communities and what they want to see from us. And across the district we have 160,000 residents, about the same size as the cities of Oxford, Dundee, or York, which shows the scale of the challenge we face, and our ambition should be for Arun to be popular as those places!

Cllr gunner stated that Thursday 24 February sees the end of Covid-19 restrictions, and after difficult two years, thanked council staff for all they have done to go above and beyond in delivering for residents – but said that now is the time to look to the future.

He said “The positive, forward-looking budget I present is a budget about delivery. Support for our high streets, support for our businesses, support for environment, and support for our people. Residents and businesses can be safe in the knowledge that never has this Council been doing as much as it is right now. Never has this Council been working on so many positive projects in our district.

“With that in mind we are increasing the size of the Economy Team, so they can continue to deliver quality projects, real and practical work. That work extends to our £2,000 shopfront grants, our new £150,000 high street fund, and the one-to-one retail support to help our high street businesses. We want Arun to be an even greater tourism destination, and the £250,000 in the budget we’ve got for a range of events is a testament to this council’s determination to get people visiting and spending money in our towns and villages. “

“The work to support our high streets and tourism economy doesn’t end there. We will be spending money on digital marketing as well as the work to the roof of the Windmill Theatre in Littlehampton, the work to revitalise the Arcade in Bognor Regis, £3.5 million for Littlehampton High Street and the £19.4 million we received as part of the levelling up agenda.”

“When I became leader not only did I say the economy would be our driving force, but the environment would be at our heart. In this budget we are protecting our environment with £79,000 for sea defences in Middleton, and £180,000 in the community flood fund which will help places like Climping and Pagham. Further inland, the £225,000 for play areas not only provides a new playground in Lashmar Road East Preston and new play area Aldwick, but many more across the district. Theis is alongside the 33,000 trees we have already started planting and the 100 trees in every parish to contribute to the Queen’s Green Canopy, Platinum Jubilee programme.”

“The pandemic has taught us that the public want to enjoy and appreciate their open spaces. That is why I’m proud to have £320,000 in the capital budget for Bersted Brooks Country Park.”

“Housing and wellbeing are very much a priority in this budget and sterling work has been done on the Housing Revenue Account to ensure we’ve got £2.6 million in the budget for sheltered accommodation to help some of our most vulnerable tenants. We are also helping residents through the community warden project being extended and the residents in Bognor Regis, Felpham and surrounded areas will be delighted to see we have £1 million to refurbing the changing rooms at the Arun Leisure Centre and bring them into the 21st century.”

“This budget will deliver on the economy, on jobs, on business. It delivers on the environment, on parks, on sea defences. It delivers on housing, on leisure and on wellbeing. This is a budget for the future. This is budget for the people and businesses of Arun.”

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