TAXPAYERS in South Lakeland will see a rise in their council tax bills from the next financial year.

Councillors agreed to an increase of two per cent in South Lakeland District Council’s part of the council tax bill, equivalent to an extra £3.91 a year on a Band D property.

This is the fifth time in the past 10 years SLDC has increased its part of the council tax bill.

The total SLDC portion of the council tax bill for a Band D property will be £199.54, which equates to 55 pence a day.

A meeting of the full council was told the authority’s sound financial situation meant it could progress and support major projects, including £9.2m in relation to Ulverston Leisure Centre; £1.9m in relation to Grange Lido based on the light-touch proposals, as well as an additional to £1 million towards improving the promenade at Grange and £6m in relation to loans to housing associations to develop affordable homes utilising Right to Buy receipts.

The Kendal Town Hall and South Lakeland House redevelopment will go ahead, which includes remodelling SLDC’s main South Lakeland House offices in Kendal so that around half the office space will be available to let to other organisations. This will include a ‘Mintworks 2’, a new enterprise centre for start-up businesses building on the success of the existing Mintworks hub on Highgate.

Other projects in the capital programme include £300,000 towards the Cross-a-Moor junction improvement on the A590 near Ulverston and further investment is planned to improve car parks and playgrounds, including £25,000 towards the extension and refurbishment to Rothay Park toilets in Ambleside through the Changing Places programme to provide disabled access facilities.

A sum of £500,000 will be allocated to ensure the continuation of the Locally Important Projects (LIPs) community grants for four years from 2021/22 and Locality budgets, which provide small but highly-valued grants toward local projects, will continue.

Councillor Andrew Jarvis, SLDC’s portfolio holder for finance, said: “This council is in robust financial health. We are maintaining services, delivering strategic projects and have a record of balancing our budget. We do not have to rely on reserves for everyday spending and can invest in improved services, make the council more efficient and support key projects.

“However, even though we remain a prudent and careful authority, we can’t ignore the significant uncertainty ahead. We remain in a good position to face this, but significant funding cuts would be a major challenge and we continue to work to find ways to minimise the impact of cuts on the residents of South Lakeland.”