Pilot funding to boost district

Key services at Blaby District Council are set to benefit following a £400,000 boost from a pilot scheme.

After entering a joint bid with Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service and District Councils to be part of the Government’s Business Rate Retention Scheme pilot, the Council was successful in securing nearly £400,000 which will be reinvested back into important services.

This funding will be spread across four areas of the Council. £100,000 to tackle homelessness will be made available following the Council’s increase in demand for the temporary accommodation of residents, like many other local authorities nationally.

A priority for the Council will be installation of new systems to ensure compliance with new housing legislation. It will also ensure residents have access to quicker and improved temporary accommodation. This will assist some of the most vulnerable people in the district during a particularly difficult time.

As the main town centre in the District of Blaby, the Council recognises the need to invest in support for the town during a national trend of stores closing their doors. £100,000 of funding has been made available by Councillors for this support.
A dedicated officer will be appointed with the funding to shape how the Council supports the District’s town and village centres and help to make improvements. Work with existing businesses and the Parish Council will also continue, including the potential to offer grants to help improve shop frontages.

£83,000 has been put towards pilot partnership projects to help the Council support people with complex needs and underlying health concerns. This funding helps to look at ways of reducing the demand on Council Tax payers and enhancing residents’ lives.

The remaining £100,000 will go towards developing a larger scheme with Leicester City Council to enhance cycling and walking networks linked to the Sustrans National Cycling Network and the City Centre. The potential project would cover highways road and pathways improvements/enhancements, including improved signage, surfacing, maps, lighting, secure cycle racks etc.

The projects would be delivered in conjunction with City and County Councils, Parishes, local Businesses and Business Parks, Rutland Cycling and Sustrans.

Councillor Maggie Wright, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Assets, said: “We are delighted to be able to utilise the funding from this pilot to support these initiatives. Homelessness is a national issue which is also felt in the District of Blaby, and we have a duty to make sure we have the best resources to handle each case that comes to us.

“Being a part of the Business Rates pilot is extremely important for the Council. Not only is it our responsibility to show that local authorities can benefit from an additional share of business rates, but it will go towards several key strategic projects that we would not have been able to undertake without this funding.”