A NEW unitary council for Somerset which comes into existence on April 1 is planning to spend more than £258 million on new and major infrastructure projects across the county in its first year of operation.

At the same time, the new authority will need to cut £38.2 million from its day to day spending in its first year to balance its budget.

Somerset Council will replace the existing county council and four districts to bring all of their functions and services under one authority.

The new council’s first budget will be set on February 22 and its capital programme includes investments in the county’s road infrastructure, protecting cliffs from subsidence, extending the life of a reservoir, and upgrading one of the Somerset’s main theatres.

Some of the projects included in the proposed capital programme have attracted funding from other organisations, such as:

• Enhancing the A38 Chelston Link Road, known locally as the ‘concrete carriageway’, in Wellington (£5,250,000)

• Protecting the B3191 at Blue Anchor (£2,298,000)

• Improvements to Wellington Library (£1,198,000 in the first year and £1,229,000 overall)

• Stabilising North Hill, Minehead (£1,010,000)

• Decarbonisation and enhancement of Wellington Sports Centre (£761,000)

• Upgrading the Dunball roundabout, Bridgwater (£5,242,000)

• Repairs and upgrades to the Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton (£185,000)

• Bridgwater’s successful Levelling Up funding bid (£19,700,000)

Proposed new work includes:

• Highway maintenance (£26,569,000)

• Protecting the rights of way network (£1,421,000)

• New classrooms for over-subscribed schools (£394,000)

Somerset’s development and assets portfolio holder Cllr Ros Wyke said the programme showed the council was willing to invest in the county when it was most needed.

Cllr Wyke said: “Inß the middle of all budgetary demands on councils, to protect a large number of projects across the county is an achievement.

“I think it shows we are looking to the future.”