AN ambitious blueprint has been unveiled for Worcestershire – with pledges of at least £210 million of investment into better roads and rail stations, protection from flooding and faster broadband.
The county council’s revised Corporate Plan has been published, which spells out spending priorities from now to 2017.
As your Worcester News revealed last week, the document outlines an extra 650 job losses by then on top of the 857 posts currently being axed.
And while it admits the council will be 40 per cent smaller by 2017 than it was in 2011, it does reveal a raft of investment priorities.
Under an ‘open for business agenda’ a minimum of £210 million will be spent on what bosses believe are the best ways of encouraging growth.
It includes: l Extra surface dressing and a new resurfacing programme for “main” roads.
l Measures to improve navigation on key routes in and out of Worcester, which could include widening of roads and cycle lanes.
l A new package of railway im-provements.
l Flood mitigation measures, which could include extra barriers to protect homes.
l Tidying up of footways to make them more pedestrian friendly.
l An £11.8 million scheme to speed up broadband across Worcestershire, bringing 90 per cent of all properties at least 24 megabits per second by 2015.
Specifics of each plan will emerge at the start of each financial year, and the expectation is that extra funds from the likes of the Environment Agency and the Government will beef up the total spend.
As your Worcester News first revealed last month, bosses have admitted the budget will need to be slashed by at least £20 million a year to 2017.
They plan to hand over as many services as possible to outside providers, a tactic known as commissioning, in order to shed staff and cut spending.
Councillor Adrian Hardman, county council leader, said the Corporate Plan was his “vision” for the future.
“This council aims to attract as many new businesses to the county as we can, and that is why we are determined to progress our ‘open for business’ agenda,” he said.
The plan also pledges to safeguard spending on children’s services and social care, after residents said they should be priorities.
Coun Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “We’ve engaged more than 30,000 residents when putting this together to have a plan grounded in what people say is very important.”
To view it, visit worcestershire.gov.uk/corporateplan.