OPPOSITION councillors in Wyre Forest are calling for a focus on more affordable housing and tackling inappropriate parking to be included in the council’s forthcoming budget.

Independent and Liberal Democrat councillors on Wyre Forest will be presenting an amendment to the ruling Conservative administration’s budget proposals for 2018/19 announced last month.

Finance chief Councillor Nathan Desmond unveiled plans to raise council tax by 1.94 per cent and an increase in charges for some services, including car parking, capped at five per cent.

But in a joint statement, Councillors Helen Dyke and Fran Oborski said: “We fundamentally disagree with the Conservative decision to increase car park charges once again this coming October.

“Because this matter is delegated to the cabinet, we are not able to include a Freeze on Car Pack Charges in our Budget Proposals, however we will be proposing a freeze for 2019-20.

“As ward councillors, we are constantly receiving complaints about inappropriate parking across the district and lack of enforcement of the two Public Space Protection Orders.

“Enforcement of the PSPO for Kidderminster Town Centre is becoming even more important due to the emerging problems of begging and street drinking.

“We are therefore proposing an increase of 1.5 FTE on the Civil Enforcement Team. This could bring in an additional £12K in fine income per year.

“We are pleased that the current activities of the council have succeeded in reducing the number of empty homes in the district from 267 to 246 in the past year.

“However we believe that, a possible increase in the housing management team could allow a target of a minimum of one extra property per month to be brought back into use, if necessary by using Emergency Dwelling Management Orders. We are therefore proposing a review of staffing levels to allow this to be done.

“It is vital that all brownfield sites on which planning permission has been granted are brought into use as soon as possible.

“For that reason we are proposing that funding from the council’s £25M Capital Portfolio Fund should be allocated to bring into use such sites.

“Our proposals would require no additional increase in council tax and are affordable within the administration’s proposed resources as they can be funded by a very small cut in the council balances.”

They also will include a further proposal to provide free leisure passes to Wyre Forest foster carers in recognition of their excellent work.