Strong plans for finances and investment to be considered at Full Council

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The NK Plan 2024-27 outlines how North Kesteven District Council will invest around £135 million in capital projects in the next three years through to 2027. 

It highlights key schemes and partnership work across five priorities – homes, the environment, economy, flourishing communities, and Council operations. On homes, for example, a further 38 council homes are set to be added to the 560 properties delivered locally by the Council as council houses, homeless support and private rent since 2011, and 52 more begun this year for independent living in Sleaford.

As a summary of the Council’s strategic objectives, the NK Plan outlines forward-looking aspirations. In recent years it has included the 37 acre Sleaford Moor Enterprise Park to unlock jobs and growth, the £1.2m redevelopment of the Hub in Sleaford to open up community access, the launch of the North Kesteven Lottery to boost support for local charities and groups, and much more in recent years. With these projects successfully delivered and set in progress, this new NK Plan describes what’s next.

A green thread also runs throughout the NK Plan, connecting all actions with the Council’s focus on climate action and its aim for the District to be carbon net zero by 2030.

This latest iteration of the NK Plan is more closely aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which in turn inform the aspirations of the Council’s Community Strategy targeted on 2030. It is also more reflective of the role partners have in making it all happen, the importance of young people’s voices, and the potential for skills to expand along with sustainable and regenerative growth in the local economy. 

The Council’s Executive Board has agreed the NK Plan 2204-27 as the Council’s direction and recommended it to Full Council, where it’s to be considered tomorrow Thursday, February 29.  

The Council’s 2023 household survey has helped shape it, in highlighting the importance residents attach to quality and value services; their concern with the cost of living; the need for good homes and supporting infrastructure; and helping businesses move towards a sustainable economy. It is also informed by three NK Plan engagement events, and input from the Student Council.

If approved at Full Council, the NK Plan will be shared with partners and published on the Council’s website, on its NK Plan webpage.

It’s backed by a 10-year capital programme through to 2030, which itself details £278 million of investment into North Kesteven including a continued focus on delivering homes, economic development and core services.

The Council also frequently renews its focus on financial planning, to avoid any shortfalls which could impact on the service delivery residents identify as important and to help enable the investment that’s mapped out in the NK Plan. 

The authority’s Financial Plan 2024-25 presents a robust picture and is also due for consideration at Full Council on February 29; outlining a balanced General Fund position for the coming three years (based on expected changes to national funding systems plus the delivery of savings programmes and income). The authority’s Housing Revenue Account is also stable and supports further investment in both existing housing stock and the creation of new homes. Challenges for the Council in 2024/25 however still include the increased costs of providing services and buying goods, and pressures facing the wider economy.

A vital part of maintaining this stable financial outlook is a modest increase in the level of Council Tax. With the District Council retaining less than 10% of the full Council Tax charge, it is important that this funding stream supports the escalating costs of delivering efficient and effective services. 

In seeking a 2.68% increase in the District Council’s element for use locally, the Council is balancing the increased costs of running services with affordability and people’s ability to pay any extra. On a Band D Council Tax bill this is £4.95 extra over the full year, giving a total annual cost of £189.45 for all the services of the District Council in the year from April.

Most of North Kesteven’s households are charged at Bands A to C, which means that the District Council element would be £3.30, £3.85 or £4.40 more for all of the services it delivers across the year – including waste and recycling, licencing and regulation of taxis and pubs, food hygiene checks on restaurants, takeaways and shops, planning controls, support for business and community initiatives, provision of leisure centres and administration and payments of benefits, and more. 

North Kesteven District Council Chief Executive Ian Fytche said: “We remain focused on maintaining the strong Council finances that residents expect to see, and the Financial Plan continues to demonstrate this.

“We are not immune to the increased costs and other pressures facing the economy, however all of the hard work undertaken to maintain this stable financial outlook means we can continue to invest significantly in North Kesteven. That’s across everything from delivering homes and business space, through to promoting the District’s history and culture, supporting active wellbeing through our leisure facilities, looking after green spaces and more, while providing quality services across our communities including waste, planning, community safety, environmental health and so much more.  

“A moderate increase in the level of our Council Tax charge – at the 2.68% that we need rather than the 3% or £5 threshold allowed for district councils – is an essential part of the strong financial position which allows us to deliver all this.” 

The overall total for individual households with all charges included will be confirmed in the annual Council Tax bills due to be issued in March. To stay up to date on Council news, sign up for e-newsletters by following this link or follow its social media channels @northkestevendc

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