EXTRA play equipment, new summer events and better Christmas lights are among improvements promised to Winsford residents this year.

Winsford Town Council approved a budget of £568,324 for 2021/22 at a meeting last night, a rise of 7.4 per cent on last year.

But, they stress, the increase will only cost taxpayers an extra 8p a week, with a precept of £64.50 for a band D property, compared with £60.05 in 2020/21.

The total budget is £603,324 with a contribution from council reserves of £35,000, setting a precept of £568,324.

Cllr Joanne Moorcroft, leader of Winsford Town Council Labour Group, said: "The last nine months have been difficult for us all but we are doing our best to deliver on things that are important to our local residents.

Winsford Guardian: The Brunner Guildhall has been lit up as the council vows to restore this historic building to its former gloryThe Brunner Guildhall has been lit up as the council vows to restore this historic building to its former glory

The Brunner Guildhall has been lit up as the council vows to restore this historic building to its former glory

"Our aspirational budget will deliver funding for designs on the renovation of our cherished Brunner Guildhall, provide more play equipment for our wonderful parks, including equipment accessible to disabled people.

"We will upgrade the town Christmas lights and provide summer events for residents to enjoy."

Winsford Guardian: Cllr Joanne Moorcroft, leader of Winsford Town Council Labour GroupCllr Joanne Moorcroft, leader of Winsford Town Council Labour Group

Cllr Joanne Moorcroft, leader of Winsford Town Council Labour Group

Special spaces will be created for dogs to exercise, separated from children's play areas.

Winsford Waterside Festival, a music, dance and theatre event with water activities to celebrate the town's waterways is being planned for the August Bank Holiday.

More council staff will be recruited to support services requested by residents.

Councillors also plan to develop more ways for the local community to share ideas online and shape council projects.

Cllr Moorcroft said: "All of this will cost the typical taxpayer an extra £4.44 a year or 8p a week, with as much funding as possible coming from council reserves.

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"Individually the precept charge is small but collectively it allows your Labour-led council to continue levelling up Winsford with our neighbouring towns.

"This budget has been put together with our cross party colleagues and in consultation with residents."

This is the town's first participatory budget where residents were given a chance to have a say on where their money is spent.

Residents were able to express their opinions in an online survey and were also invited to take part in a Zoom meeting where they put their views forward to councillors.

Deputy Mayor councillor Nathan Pardoe, chairing the meeting said: "The Town Council precept is only three per cent of the overall bill."

Cllr Damon Horrill said: "We have had a lot of interaction with residents and much conversation.

"We have lots of other ideas. This budget is what is required to help residents thoroughly engage and participate in how budgets are applied to areas that directly affect them."