COLCHESTER Council has approved its budget for the coming year with opposition councillors abstaining on the vote.

During a crunch meeting at Colchester Town Hall, the Lib Dem and Labour administration backed the spending proposals, subject to one amendment.

The groups were supported by Highwoods Independent and Green councillors, with 27 votes for the budget and 22 Conservative members abstaining.

Residents will see a rise of £4.95, or 2.6 per cent, to pay for the authority’s plans, with the average Band D property paying £195.57 a year in addition to demands from Essex County Council and the police, fire and crime commissioner.

This increase will allow the council to invest in issues like housing, tackling climate change, developing a vision for the River Colne and boosting waste and recycling services.

David King, councillor responsible for business and resources, said: “This is a council with ambition. This document reflects many of the ambitions, the wishes, the hopes, the issues raised across the chamber.This budget is shaped and led by an administration which cares for the needs of our residents, which genuinely tries to change lives for the better and which has fantastic record on working well across boundaries to develop alliances.”

The amendment, proposed by Gerard Oxford (Highwoods, Ind), will ensure votes in full council before further funding is agreed for North Essex Garden Communities.

It will also ensure no construction work begins at the West Tey garden community unless funding is secure for the A12 re-routing.

Colchester Conservatives had put forward further amendments calling for more detail on the climate change plans, more specific cost figures and less communications spending, however, they were rejected.

Council leader Mark Cory called for councillors to back the budget. He said: “If you support a greener borough, investment in young people, if you want a safe borough, an even more cultural borough, growing businesses and external investment and ultimately secure, prosperous communities, you should vote for this budget.”