Stirling Council publishes 2024-25 draft budget with proposals to bridge £16m shortfall

Stirling Council publishes 2024-25 draft budget with proposals to bridge £16m shortfall

Stirling Council have published the draft budget and proposals with recommendations to accept or reject the various proposals that you may have seen through the Big Conversation Survey.

Residents have been in touch with us to highlight concern over the future of our local library service in particular, but also community centres.  See the Save our Libraries petition.

The Budget meeting will take place on the 29th of February and will be attended by our elected members.  

The full press release from Stirling Council is as follows.

Stirling Council has published its draft budget for 2024-25 which includes a number of savings proposals to address a shortfall of over £16m.

councillors will consider and make the decisions on the budget at a special meeting of council next Thursday (29 Feb).

Stirling Council, like all other local authorities in Scotland, is facing an unprecedented financial challenge for a number of reasons including funding pressures, rising costs and inflation and increasing demand for services.

The savings proposals to plug the gap have been informed by feedback from residents who took part in the council’s ‘Big Conversation’, an important exercise featuring an online survey and a series of drop-in events across the council area.

More than 3,400 people participated in the online survey on nearly 50 savings proposals. The results are now available to view on our Engage Stirling site, as well as the Big Conversation webpage

Almost 700 people attended 24 events across the council area between August and December last year, which included eight larger events where members of the public could talk directly to services.

The budget reports, including the revenue budget and proposed capital programme, as well as the administration motions, can be downloaded here.

Stirling Council Leader Cllr Chris Kane said: “The budget-setting process has been hugely challenging for everyone involved, with mounting financial pressures forcing every council service to propose savings proposals to help achieve a balanced budget.

“No one wants to be in a position to be proposing cuts like these; but this is our financial reality, with rising costs and demand for delivering services. While it doesn’t make it any less painful, we are certainly not alone with councils across Scotland having to make very difficult choices.

“I would like to thank everyone who took part in our ‘Big Conversation’ on the budget that started back in August 2023, whether that was taking part in the online survey, coming along to the drop-in events or writing to us on a number of issues. Your feedback, ideas and suggestions have been invaluable and have helped inform the proposals put forward. 

“There will be no easy choices at next week’s budget meeting of all councillors, but it’s critical we keep Stirling Council on a firm financial footing to continue delivering the local services we all rely on.”

You can watch the budget-setting meeting and to find links to the agenda papers on the council’s online broadcasting platform.

For more information, including the equality and socio-economic impact documentation for the council’s 2024-25 budget saving proposals, please visit stirling.gov.uk/bigconversation

Why does Stirling Council have an estimated budget shortfall of over £16m?

The council’s budget gap for 2024-25 was estimated to have been around £13million at the end of last year, a figure highlighted in our Big Conversation with residents. This has increased to due to new and ongoing financial pressures.

In Stirling Council nearly 79% of the budget comes from a Scottish Government grant and our share of the Government’s non-domestic rates or business rates, with the rest raised from council tax.

On 19 December, the Scottish Government published its Local Government Settlement for 2024-25 – the annual funding award for councils – which included funding for a potential council tax freeze.

COSLA, a cross-party organisation that is the voice of local government in Scotland, calculated this amounted to a cut in core revenue funding (the money used to deliver key services like bin collections, education and roads maintenance) for councils of £62.7m for 2024-25, meaning the funding offered for a council tax freeze only equated to a 2.8% rise. Last year, Stirling Council raised council tax by 7%. 

An independent report published this month by the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows funding available to Scottish councils will only go up by 1.8% in real terms next year, coming at a time when councils continue to face a perfect storm as demand for services increases along with the price of delivering them.

The report on the council’s budget says that once ring-fenced grants and new funding which come with spending commitments were removed, the council’s core grant allocation from the Scottish Government for 2024-25 decreased by £1.295m from last year.

It also highlighted that the Scottish Government draft budget provides £147m for the council tax freeze across all Scottish local authorities, with the council’s provisional share amounting to £2.923M, equating to a 4.9% increase in Council Tax.

Update on Sunnylaw – Survey Launched

Update on Sunnylaw – Survey Launched

Since our last update in December the Sunnylaw Action Group has been working on options and idea for the possible purchase of, and future use of, the land on Sunnylaw Road (shown in the map below).  

The land will be sold at a closing date at the end of March, and we want to gather as many community views as possible to help us decide on next steps. 

You can complete the survey here Https://www.SurveyMonkey.com/r/CCBOASUNNY.

The surevy will be open until Friday 15th of March. 

Please share the survey across your contacts and networks.

The group will meet fortnightly until the end of March, with further progress updates shared via our website and social media.

sunnylaw

November meeting minutes now available

November meeting minutes now available

Our November meeting minutes are now available to read in full by clicking here

At the meeting we discussed 

  • November’s Police Report covered 16th Oct – 20th Nov.   15 crimes in the period including assault, vandalism to a vehicle theft, drug misuse, road safety issues, Facebook sale fraud and dogs worrying livestock.
  • You can contact the Community Police team at: DunblaneBridgeofAllanCPT@scotland.pnn.police.uk
  • Sunnylaw Land Auction – Many people attended the meeting with an interest in this topic.  Since then meetings have been taking place looking into the possibly of community ownership.. You can read more here .  A closing date for sale of the land has been set by the seller as March 27th.  Further meetings will be taking place in January and February.
  • Vacancies on the Community Council – Welcome to Shumela and Graham who were unanimously co-opted
  • Update from Local Place Plan group–  A steering group is now in place, funding secure from the Common Good Fund will resource a consultant to complete community consultation.
  • Christmas Lights – tree went up 30th Nov, event in Provost’s Park Sat 2nd Dec -Thanks to everyone who joined us, sponsored a light or donated to the Crowdfunder.
  • Tennis Courts – court resurfacing is almost complete,  we are looking for calrity with Stirling Council how access to the courts will be managed.  Funding is being sought for resurfacing of the adjoining MUGA.
  • ATM Provision – The village is down to one ATM, we are looking in to options to increase access to cash services
  • University to Dunblane Cycle Lane – interested stakeholders have been invited to join a working group, with Stirling Council Access Officer managing engagement.
  • Pavement and Tree Maintenance – A member met with Stirling COuncil officials to dicsuss issues at Alexander Drive
  • Common Good Fund Application – Members voted in support of the Dr Welsh Trust’s application for funds to set up a website
  • Planning report – no concerns highlighted
  • Reports form our Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

Minutes for the latest January meeting will be available after their approval at the next meeting.  However news on the progress of projects and local issues will also be shared via our website and social media accounts, so sign up to our mailing list or follow us to find out our news. 

Minutes from all our past meetings can be found on our meetings page

Parking management around Cornton Vale Prison

Parking management around Cornton Vale Prison

We have been made aware in recent months of disruption to traffic cause by cars parking in the vicinity of the prison.
 
Stirling council have let us know that a temporary traffic regulation order (TTRO) to allow the installation of double yellow lines will come into force on 22nd January 2024. The Council’s lining contractor has confirmed that, weather permitting, the double yellow lines will be marked by this date.
 
Thanks to everyone who has been in touch about this and our elected members who have been working on the solution. We hope this resolves the traffic issues in this area.
January Meeting Agenda

January Meeting Agenda

Our next Community Council meeting will be held on Tuesday 16th January in the Allan Centre GP room.
 
The meeting starts at 7.30pm and any member of the public is welcome to attend.  We will be joined by people and organisations that work together for the people of Bridge of Allan, the community policing team, Friends of Bridge of Allan and elected representatives when their calender permits.  
 
This month we have on our Agenda:
 
👉 Police report  – officers send their apologies. See the January report here
👉 Residents voice
👉 Tennis Courts
👉 Sunnylaw Land Auction – read more about the Sunnylaw Land for sale here
👉 Local Place Plan 
👉 Christmas Lights
👉 Business Rates
👉 103 Henderson Street Developer Contributions
👉 Post Office Provisions
👉 Planning Applications Report
👉 Common Good Fund Application  – BofA Primary School – See the updated BofA Common Good Page here
 
Reports from our position holders – Chair, Secretary, Treasurer
Update on Sunnylaw – Survey Launched

Sunnylaw Land Group

In November 2023, a plot of open space on Sunnylaw Road (between Mine and Mid Woods) was advertised for sale at auction.  The area, which comprises roughly 2.4 hectares, is shown on the image above.  This green space is currently open public space, and while privately owned it has been maintained by Stirling Council on behalf of the community.  However, this maintenance is due to end this year as the council looks to make savings. 

Many community members were concerned about the sale and the potential for the land to be sold for development.  The community council shared this concern and first discussed the issue at our November meeting, with many local residents in attendance.  We agreed at that meeting to set up a separate open discussion on the sale of the land at Sunnylaw, with all interested groups agreeing to come along.  The purpose of the group is to explore options for keeping the land in community use and ownership for years to come.

At the first meeting of the Sunnylaw Land Group we heard ideas and suggestions from local groups and residents about how the community could purchase the land.  We agreed at that meeting to contact the sellers and their agents to ask that the land was removed from the auction and consideration was given to gifting /transferring the land to the community.  We have now heard back from the sellers to confirm they are happy to postpone auction of the land to allow a discussion with the community about options for purchasing the land. 

Share your views

We have met twice since that first meeting to discuss our options and agree a way forward – with a first step being to undertake a community survey to understand the views of as many Bridge of Allan residents as possible.  The survey will be launching soon and we hope you take a few minutes to give us your views.  The survey will seek views about current and possible future use of the land, and options for funding a purchase.  Some community groups have expressed an interest in using some of the land – we need to understand how residents feel about this.

A community purchase of the land ensures that it can remain as a public open space, which is in line with the current planning framework for the area through the Local Development Plan.  We are also starting work on the development of a Local Place Plan for the area, which will give the Council a clear direction from the Bridge of Allan community on our priorities for our local community. 

Do you have the skills to help?

A small group of interested residents, with support from a group of Community Councillors, have continued to meet and explore options for the purchase with a view to sourcing funding and offering on the land.  While we have enthusiasm and commitment in the group, we don’t have all the professional knowledge, skills and experience that will be needed.  Input from wider residents and those with that expertise is welcome as this process develops. 

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