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Raft of new council spending plans revealed
A RAFT of new spending plans have been revealed by Worcestershire County Council - including £6.4 million into encouraging the public to use the internet more.
A series of projects have been earmarked with taxpayers' cash by the council, including:
- £4.7 million towards Worcester Technology Park, which is being planned for land just off Junction 6 the M5
- £6.4 million into creating a new "digital strategy" aimed at marketing online services and pushing more of the public towards internet-based methods of contact
- £1.2 million towards replacement street lighting columns, as many are in a poor condition
- An extra £400,000 into Worcestershire's education centres for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties
- £2 million of additional cash for road repairs and maintenance
- £200,000 towards flooding grants for businesses, with £3,000 for firms suffering damage to their property and £1,500 where roads outside were impassable
The commitments, which are all new awards, have come about after talks at the council over how to allocate some remaining budget funds into the spending plan.
For several months now the Conservative leadership has been intent on beefing up the council services available online.
The spending was discussed during a meeting of the cabinet at County Hall.
Councillor John Smith, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "It will certainly make a difference, I welcome the money we've allocated."
Councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure said: "It's very good to see that flooding mitigation money is being made available.
"We're moving past the clean-up phase to the recovery stage now and I hope this will help our businesses get back to normal."
The technology park, an £18 million facility, will sit on 50 acres of land and when full will employ up to 3,000 workers.
It already has planning permission and construction on some of the first units will get underway over the coming months.
Despite Worcester Bosch pulling out as the main anchor tenant in 2011, the council says interest from companies has been very high.
The county council is under unprecedented financial pressure and is planning to shed around £30 million from the budget next year and £25 million in each of the following years until at least 2019.
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