Permits, parks and properties among topics discussed in Barking and Dagenham Council budget Q&A

Cllr Dominic Twomey is the deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham Council. Picture: Sophie Morton.

Cllr Dominic Twomey is the deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham Council. Picture: Sophie Morton. - Credit: Archant

Barking and Dagenham Council’s deputy leader pledged a “budget for growth” as he answered questions during an online session.

Speaking during an hour-long Facebook Live session, Cllr Dominic Twomey said the council was "absolutely open to ideas" for developing Barking and Dagenham further.

"The budget affects every single one of us, one way or the other," he said.

"From collecting your bins to adult social care, the budget covers for all of that.

"Even in these difficult times we need to try and invest in as much as we can for our residents.

"We've invested in social care, we've invested in our public realm, we've invested in growth. We want to be a cleaner, greener borough."

He said that providing free green garden waste collections could not be continued financially but that a consultation found that residents were happy to pay for it.

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Space for outdoor pursuits in parks, he said, were under consideration, as was a new leisure centre at Barking Riverside.

Cllr Twomey said the council would consider whether something could be done about parking permits for carers, adding: "I absolutely agree that all of our residents in controlled parking zones should have access to unlimited permits. In terms of doing it for free, it's just not possible."

He said that the money raised by the CPZs went back in to the scheme rather than supporting other services, adding: "In the big scheme of things, it's not a huge amount of money."

The council has proposed raising council tax by 3.99 per cent, half of which would be ringfenced to pay for adult social care - an extra 94p per week for families living in a band D property.

"It isn't something that we do lightly, raising council tax," Cllr Twomey said. "Before the rises that have taken place over the last five years we had seven or eight years worth of council tax freeze."

Among the questions from residents during the session on Tuesday, January 28, the cabinet member for finance was asked about the amount of flats being built in the borough compared to houses.

"Young professional people we come across want to live in a flat," he said. "Depending where you are across the borough will be dependant on what build you get. Where there is space, we will build houses."