A SURGE in planning applications and government funding cuts have forced district council chiefs into raising council tax.
Residents will see a two per cent annual rise in Stratford District Council’s portion of the bill – around eight per cent of the total bill – for the next four years.
The money will go towards services including recycling and waste collection, planning, housing benefits and children’s play areas.
Council funding will also pay for improvements to the CCTV service and the provision of extra temporary accommodation.
It will also guarantee future of the Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations and partnership with Fuzhou City in China.
Council leader Chris Saint said a reduction in funding from government had prompted the rise.
And he added with the district also currently receiving the second highest number of planning applications in the country the council needed to fund nine extra members of staff to handle the increase.
Coun Saint said: “This budget has been set against a background of immediate and potential change in our revenue stream and we need to look at the longer term situation to create a sustainable way forward.
“Due to our sound financial management, we have been rewarded with certainty in our settlement for the next four years and know by 2020 that it will be reduced to zero. We are suffering a downward adjustment of New Homes Bonus to help fund Adult Social Care.
“Our budget consultations have shown specific areas where the public would like to see service provision increased and this budget reflects those priorities in CCTV and housing services.
“Another area for increased service provision is our planning service, which is currently receiving the second highest number of planning applications in the country.
“The extra budgeted income from planning fees will allow us to recruit nine new posts.
“This budget allows the council to undertake both its statutory duties and those it undertakes by virtue of its Corporate Strategy as well as preserving a justifiable level of reserves.”
The district council hike in council tax comes on top of a big rise of nearly four per cent imposed by Warwickshire county Council – which accounts for the lion’s share of the total bill. The county portion of the bill forms around 80 per cent, and overall will mean the amount payable for a Band D home will go to £1,684 – an annual rise of around £100.