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Eden District Council agrees budget for 2020/21

Eden District Council has tonight (Thursday 27 February 2020) agreed its budget for the 2020/21 municipal year with no cuts to services and a modest rise in Council Tax, after two years with no increases at all. The average bill for a Band D property will increase from £190.75 per annum to £195.75 per annum in 2020/21 for Eden’s share of the total Council Tax bill, an increase of just 10p per week. The increase for lower band properties will be even less.

Eden District Council collects the Council Tax from households in the local area. The money collected is then used to fund services provided by Cumbria County Council and Cumbria Police, as well as Eden District Council and Parish/Town Councils, if they raise a precept. For comparison, Cumbria County Council has proposed a £1.06 weekly increase for a Band D property in its 2020/21 budget and Cumbria Police has proposed a 17p weekly increase.

The budget also includes money to support local communities, financial approval for the council’s Corporate Plan and the One Eden Transformation programme, which aims to remodel the council into a modern, financially secure and sustainable organisation. The acquisition of Voreda House in Penrith, which is set to become the new single site location for the council’s staff and services, was also approved.

Karen Greenwood, Resources Portfolio Holder, said: “It is our intention to put EDC on a financially sound and sustainable footing, ready to face whatever the future holds for our district. Our ambition is to provide a well-managed and effective organisation, fit for purpose and delivering excellent services to meet customer needs.”

The Council has been looking for premises to accommodate its staff and deliver its services from a single site for a number of years. The acquisition of Voreda House presents an opportunity to co-locate with the council’s partner organisations to create a new model of integrated public services, and creating a hub for customer services which will make sense whatever the shape of local government may be in the future.

The creation of a single site is also a cornerstone of the One Eden Transformation Programme, which aims to drive improvements in service delivery for the council’s customers, as well as cultural and operational changes for its staff by bringing them together in a modern office environment.

Council Leader, Cllr. Virginia Taylor, said: “It’s vital that we secure a sustainable future for the provision of local authority jobs in Penrith, keeping services and decisions close to the people they serve. By utilising an existing building, which we’ll be able to move to in a comparatively short timescale, we avoid the costs, delays and disruption associated with building from scratch.

“I believe the move to Voreda House better equips the council, and its partners, to deliver high quality, integrated and resilient services in a modern, fit for purpose environment that will also be an attractive location for any potential successor organisation.

“The move will also deliver immediate savings on the operational costs associated with maintaining the Town Hall and Mansion House in their current form, while freeing space in those buildings for use by other groups, organisations and enterprises.”

It’s envisaged that the acquisition of Voreda House will allow for the disposal, by sale or lease, of the vacated Mansion House and Town Hall buildings and the council is currently exploring alternative uses for both properties. While it’s anticipated that the use of the Council Chamber and some meeting facilities at the Town Hall will be retained, there has been previous interest in redeveloping Mansion House as a hotel.

For more information on Eden District Council’s finances visit the finance pages at www.eden.gov.uk. Anyone who is having difficulties paying their Council Tax is encouraged to contact Eden District Council as soon as possible to discuss their situation or to contact The Citizens Advice Bureau for support. Visit www.cac-e.org.uk or call: 03300 563 037.