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At the June Full Council Meeting held at the Oakwood Centre, approval was given to apply to the Public Works Loan Board for a loan of £240,000 to fund three projects. These projects reflect the continuous investment of the Town Council into its services and facilities and builds on the investment of £500,000 already made over recent years.
A key principle of the Town Council is to constrain the financing of loans to a set level to ensure that town council tax levels do not need to be increased to cover the costs. There are two existing loans which will mature in 2019 and 2020, meaning the payments for these loans can be used to finance this new loan. In the intervening gap between now and the maturity dates, the financing will come from reserves.
Preparatory works at the lake, including cutting back overgrown areas, removing the hedge at the eastern end of the lake and, following a professional tree survey, removing trees that were in poor condition or damaging the lake and island banks, have already been undertaken. The loan, at an estimated cost of £70,000, will aid further work to improve the habitat, ecosystem and amenity value of the lake and will include the creation of a wildlife area, a boardwalk across the lake with a dipping platform, desilting of the lake, and improvements to the pathways and bank areas.
Following feedback from Resident Surveys, leisure centre customers and recommendations from the manager, plans to update and refurbish three areas of the leisure centre have been agreed. The installation of new ladies’ toilets, additional back office space and refurbishment of the foyer, replacement LED lighting in the sports hall and improvements to the centre’s north facing façade at an estimated cost of £90,000.
It has been agreed to build a new workshop for the Maintenance and Ground Maintenance teams to provide a space for repairs to be carried out, for tools to be stored and for the two teams to have access to toilets, a shower and a rest/tea area on site. The new workshop will be placed within the current Grounds Maintenance depot area in Woodford Park, at an estimated cost of £80,000.
“Approximately six years ago, the council started to invest in capital projects in a financially controlled way. Woodley residents have been seeing the results of that investment in improved facilities and services over that period. This investment is a continuation of that approach and I am extremely pleased that all this has been done without raising the town council tax rate. I am especially pleased about the long awaited total refurbishment of the lake which is at the heart of Woodford Park which will improve this area significantly. I am proud to be the leader of a town council which has such ambitions to provide first class services and facilities to its residents,” comments Council Leader Keith Baker.