Elected members of Cheshire East Council will have more cash to spend on highways projects in their local wards next year.
Ward member budgets, introduced in 2021, will increase by 50% from £4,200 to £6,500. The change will empower elected members to prioritise local highway investment and call upon their own budgets to help finance them.
The change will come into effect from April 2023 and will operate for a fixed period of four years. The scheme will help promote the council’s aim to be a ‘thriving and sustainable place’, delivering a highways network that is ‘safe and promotes active travel’.
The improved scheme is designed to encourage town and parish councils to work with their local ward members by, for example, allowing to match-fund projects for which there is widespread community support.
Examples of where ward member budgets could be spent include street lighting, footway and highways patching, road signage, vegetation clearance, drainage works and road markings.
Councillor Craig Browne, council deputy leader and chair of the council’s highways and transport committee, said: “I am confident that this improved scheme, with an increased budget, will help to give elected ward members a greater say in the delivery of local highways and transport priorities.
“The enhanced ward member budget scheme will help deliver locally important highways schemes and I am certain that residents will see a significant benefit over the next four years.”
The changes to how the scheme will be administered reflects the council’s commitment to enable closer engagement with elected members and town and parish councils, demonstrating how the council is listening to their concerns and taking action to address those concerns for the benefit of residents.