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Opposition SNP group stall £4m Arbroath active travel plan spend in alternative budget proposals

Angus House council HQ
Angus House council HQ

Opposition Angus councillors propose to halt the authority’s £4 million contribution to an Arbroath active travel scheme in alternative spending plans this week.

Councillors meet on Thursday to set the authority’s budget and the SNP group has said it cannot support the multi-million pound funding for the wider Sustrans scheme.

There remains continuing controversy around the ambitious scheme centred on the A92 running through Arbroath.

Councillor Bill Duff.

SNP finance spokesman and Montrose councillor Bill Duff confirmed the opposition group will be putting forward an alternative budget.

Children and families investment

He said huge difficulties faced by families over the past year has played an important part in the SNP group’s thinking.

“We decided to award children, families and justice services extra funding to enable them to increase staffing in the areas of family support; increase allowances for fostering, adoption and kinship care; and improve services for children with disabilities,” he added.

The ruling Angus coalition administration has also confirmed a planned £620,000 frontline investment in the service.

Council tax freeze for Angus residents

“We in the SNP are surprised but very relieved to see that the administration has recognised this need and has done the same as us,” said Mr Duff.

The councillor added he wants to see more money for road maintenance.

He added: “The state of the roads for all road users is high on the agenda of residents for Angus, as are flooding issues.

“In the revenue account, the SNP are adding an extra £475,000 for core road maintenance as well as kerb-sweeping and gully and road draining clearance.

“The council declared a climate emergency over a year ago and we are adamant that we don’t need just words but action, so in our capital plan we have also added £800,000 for core capital roads maintenance and road safety.

“And while we are committed to active travel, we can’t support a possible £4m of council money for the Arbroath scheme, when so many other parts of Angus need essential roadworks.”

Angus Council pressing on through pandemic with design stage of controversial £13m Arbroath active travel scheme

Despite going against the active travel plan, Mr Duff said his SNP group wants to spend money on other eco-friendly initiatives.

“The SNP has gone further and added £3m for carbon reduction projects across the council estate,” he said.

“This is will enable more solar panels to be installed in buildings as well as investing in much-needed batteries for storage.  Other projects may arise as technology evolves and this allows officers the flexibility to take action.”

Monifieth High School replacement

The SNP group also wants to see an acceleration of funding for a new £50 million replacement of Monifieth High School, which has already been agreed by the administration.

 

New £50m Monifieth High could be delivered by 2025

“Two small but important items are £50,000 to support rural community resilience for dealing with snow and ice by providing snow ploughs for farmers, and another £50,000 for a feasibility study to build a new recycling centre to serve Monifieth and Carnoustie where people continue to have no general waste capability,” added Mr Duff.

Angus residents will see a council tax freeze for the coming year in the coalition budget which is expected to secure its passage on Thursday.

The ruling group has also said parking charges will remain suspended until the end of the current administration.

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