Decision details

Medium Term Financial Strategy Consultation 2024/25 - 2027/28 Provisional Settlement Update

Decision Maker: Economy and Growth Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes


All Committees were being asked to provide feedback in relation to their financial responsibilities as identified within the Constitution and linked to the budget alignment approved by the Finance Sub-Committee in March 2023. Responses to the consultation would be reported to the Corporate Policy Committee to support that Committee in making recommendations to Council on changes to the current financial strategy.


The Committee considered a report which sought feedback on the responsibilities of the Committee as consultees, on the development of the Cheshire East Medium-Term Financial Strategy.


There remained a shortfall of £12.7m across all committees to be resolved and further budget change proposals were sought to help present a balanced budget.  The Economy and Growth budget for 2023/24 was £25.0m. Expenditure was forecast to increase by £4.9m next year. The budget would increase by £2.0m and as a result Economy and Growth would need to find savings of £2.9m to mitigate the increasing expenditure.


It was reported that the High-Level Business Cases would be presented at the Corporate Policy Committee on the 13 of February.


Members asked questions and provided comments in relation to the proposals. These included:


  • asked for an update on the budget allocated for the South Macclesfield Development Area and asked what the financial implications would be if the Council did not proceed with the Gawsworth Road/London Road Link Road and the project was removed from the capital programme.  In response it was stated that the cancellation of a capital project would lead to any costs incurred to date, (and have been capitalised against the project) falling against the revenue budget for that year. The spend to date on the project was around £3.2m.


  • referred to the Third Financial Review report which referenced the Council being responsible for approximately 500 services and asked what these were and if they were statutory or non-statutory services and could some of these services be provided on the Council’s behalf by other local authorities.


  • referred to the operating cost for Tatton Park and asked if there should be investment to generate more income and that any target should be over a longer period than a year and that the overall subsidy should be reduced by a percentage rather than a cash saving.


  • referred to the Farms Policy Member Advisory Group and asked if the issue of disposal of the estate and increasing the revenue income could be considered urgently by them.


A list of the additional budget proposals put forward by the Conservative Group was circulated to the Committee.  The proposals included:


Disposal of Westfields:

       i.        suggestion that the site could be expanded to include the two adjacent car parks to fully maximise its development potential. 

      ii.        The end-use of the site must include provision that meets the maximum savings potential required by the Council (SEND and ASC Supported Living/Extra Care)

     iii.        A clear schedule for development of the expanded site must be included in the Work Programme for Economy & Growth as well as affiliated Committees, with clear KPIs and Project Management oversight throughout the life of the project. Appendix A1 – Economy and Growth further list of proposals OFFICIAL Such project work has a lead-in time of at least two/three years and therefore must be scheduled in the work programme from the outset.


Handforth Garden Village:

  1. the Handforth Village site remains a regular item on this Committee’s work programme.
  2. the Strategic Development Team report back on the financial monitoring of the scheme in order that any future sales of the site (in part or in total) are timed to maximise fiscal returns to the Council.
  3. the Council’s LPA function is supported to prioritise timely appraisal and determination of planning applications related to this and other CEC development projects necessary to deliver fiscal sustainability.


Macclesfield Car Parks:

  1. potentially Duke Street or part of Churchill Way, be released to support Town Centre regeneration and Town Centre residential accommodation, with capacity for older persons or ‘HAPPI’ disability compliant ground-floor provision.
  2. the proposal is included in the Work Programme for Economy & Growth and aligned with the work programmes of affiliated Committees.
  3. a clear schedule for development of the site, with KPIs and Project Management oversight throughout the life of the project.
  4. the end use for this site is still to be determined but the confirmed over-capacity of Macclesfield’s car park provision is better used to meet the Council’s development requirements over the medium/long term to help ensure its fiscal sustainability.
  5. such project work has a lead-in time of at least two/three years and therefore must be scheduled in the work programme from the outset.


It was proposed and seconded that the proposals in Appendix 1 and the Conservative Group proposals be recommended to the Corporate Policy Committee for inclusion in the Council’s budget 2024/25.


RESOLVED:   That the Committee


1          recommend to the Corporate Policy Committee, for their meeting on 13 February 2024, all proposals within the budget consultation, as related to the Committee’s responsibilities, for inclusion in the Council’s budget for 2024/25.


2          the additional proposals from the Conservative Group be recommended to the Corporate Policy Committee for inclusion in the Council’s budget proposals.

Report author: Honor Field

Publication date: 01/02/2024

Date of decision: 26/01/2024

Decided at meeting: 26/01/2024 - Economy and Growth Committee

Effective from: 09/02/2024

Accompanying Documents: