A £60 million investment to develop affordable homes, combat the climate emergency and improve the parking provision in the Cotswolds has been agreed by Cotswold District Council.

The new Lib Dem administration approved the 'ambitious but deliverable budget' on Wednesday night to 'rebuild the council'.

Councillors approved a net revenue budget for 2020/21 of £12.3 million with a capital programme of investment of £60 million over the next three years.

The approved budget includes improving waste and recycling services, supporting economic development, £70,000 for a climate change officer, £20,000 to webcast council meetings and £60,000 to increase car parking spaces in Cirencester.

Also included is £850,000 over the next four years to review its housing blueprint, called a local plan, which sets out where homes are built in the district as the current one is ‘out of sync’, according to a council document.

The update will ensure it is ‘green to the core’, meeting housing needs and responding to the challenge of the climate emergency.

Households in the Cotswolds will also pay more for their council tax from April, with the average Band D property paying £134 after councillors approved the 3.88 per cent rise to CDC’s share of council tax bills.

The increase means a Band D property will pay the equivalent of £5 more for local services every month from April 1.

Other key elements in the budget include investment in the economic development of the district to support business growth and boost job opportunities, development of a strategy to improve health and wellbeing in all communities and increased funding for grants to support the work of community organisations across the district.

Cllr Mike Evemy, deputy leader of Cotswold District Council said: "This budget will help us rebuild the council after nearly a decade of austerity, and give us the foundation on which to deliver our comprehensive plan for the Cotswolds.

“This budget is ambitious, but it is also deliverable and prudent, with over £1.1 million worth of savings.

"It brings to life the aims and ambitions of our new administration.

"We’re going to tackle the climate emergency and deliver social rented homes.

"We’re also going to strengthen our local economy, all whilst building the financial resilience of the council.”

In response to the budget, Cllr Richard Morgan, leader of the Conservative Opposition Group said: “The 3.88 percent council tax increase will add an additional £209,000 to council revenues.

"However, our residents should understand that a lot of this extra funding is being spent almost entirely inhouse.

"For example, we are spending £47,000 on increasing councillors allowances and the number of cabinet members, £20,000 on cameras for the council chamber so we can webcast and £45,000 extra for our communications budget.

"In addition, we are still asking what the new office for the Lib Dem leader and the new meeting rooms cost the taxpayer.

“Parking charges are going up by almost 30 percent and the Lib Dems are asking residents to pay an extra £5 for their green bin licence, despite cutting the number of collections in half.

"To top it all, the Lib Dems seem to be full of bravado in the council chamber when they talk about running down the councils reserves and borrowing up to £30 million for speculative investments in commercial property and social housing, but they seem to be shy talking about this in public.

"This was a terrible budget packed full of soundbites and virtue signalling with no detail and no real plan to deliver anything of substance.

"We had no option other than to vote against.”