A PACKAGE of wide-ranging investments in vital services and community facilities across Leicester has been set out in the city council’s draft capital spending programme for 2022.
Work including refurbishing children’s homes, carrying out flood risk prevention measures and improving parking and public spaces in neighbourhoods across the city are due to be funded in the programme over the coming year.
The ongoing reductions in Government funding over the last decade mean the city council does not have the funds to finance all the work needed to meet the city’s needs.
The 2022/23 draft capital spending programme report includes projects to the value of £56m.
Capital works include works to buildings and roads. These are funded with grants paid to the council for capital spending and other one-off funding. This funding is different to the revenue budget which is facing severe problems due to Government funding cuts.
The revenue budget pays for day-to-day running costs such as staff pay, maintenance and keeping services open.
The capital programme is primarily focused on the council’s key pledges, including:
- A fair city
- Connecting Leicester
- Homes for all
- Lifelong learning
- A city to enjoy
Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “This programme of spending for the next year aims to ensure that essential building and improvement work is carried out, as well as works to help the city recover from nearly two years of disruption from the pandemic.
“By focusing our spending programme on just the year ahead and on our key pledges, we can do our best to carry out the work which will make a positive difference to people in neighbourhoods across the city despite the uncertainties of the future.”
Projects that are part of the draft capital programme include:
- £8.4million for Social Care and Education, of which £7.5m will be used on maintenance and improvements to school buildings, and £850,000 used to refurbish the city’s children’s homes.
- £11.3million is set aside for planning, development and transport schemes including community improvement works, road safety schemes, flood prevention works and maintaining the city’s roads.
- £5.4million for private sector housing, which includes work such as home repair loans, Disabled Facilities Grants to cover adaptations to homes, and also bringing empty homes back into use as much-needed housing.
- £0.6m to improve or create multi-use games areas in the city’s neighbourhoods, some of which have fallen into disrepair.
The draft programme also includes some schemes which involve investing now in facilities which will attract inward investment or generate more business.
£1m will be spent on refurbishing Malcolm Arcade in the city’s Lanes, including a new roof and improvements to the floors, walls, staircase, lighting, doors and windows. The work is designed to help attract new businesses and customers.
Likewise, £850,000 is due to be invested in making retail and shopfront improvements in communities across the city, by providing grants for businesses to make changes which will help their businesses recover after the disruption caused by Covid-19. The work includes shop front grants, café seating grants and related works such as new paving, bollards, landscaping or roofing.
Other proposals include £7.3m set aside for the next phase of improvements to Leicester’s outdoor market.