A marathon council meeting lasting eight and a half hours was held in Trowbridge County Hall on February 20; here’s our pick of the most significant moments:

1. Tributes paid to late councillors

A minute’s silence was held for the late Councillors Tony Trotman and Bob Jones, who both died since the last full council meeting.

Councillors paid tribute to them and spoke fondly of the memories they shared working with the two men.

Councillor Jones represented the Cricklade & Latton division, was a member of Cricklade Town Council, and also served in a number of other roles, such as Vice Chairman of the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Authority.

Councillor Trotman served Calne Town Council for over 20 years and was mayor on four occasions.

Chairman of the Council James Sheppard said: “This council and this county is much the poorer following their loss, we will miss them very much.”

2. Balanced budget approved confirming council tax rise

Councillors voted to approve a council tax rise of 4.99 per cent, which is the maximum amount permitted by central government.

This amount is equivalent to an increase of £1.65 per week for people living in a Band D property.

The plans were included in the budget proposals which were approved after a lengthy debate.

The council tax requirement is set at £351.077 million for 2024/25, whilst the council’s proposed overall budget stands at £486 million.

Councillor Botterill, cabinet member for finance, said the budget was something councillors should take pride in, whilst the Liberal Democrat group leader, Councillor Ian Thorn, said he did not support it.

The most significant spending is planned for adult services (£179.4m), families and children (£70.8m), environment (£49.6m), highways and transport (£43m) and education and skills (£38.9m).

3. All Lib Dem amendments refused

All three of the Liberal Democrats’ budget amendments to the Conservatives' draft council budget failed to pass the full council vote.

The amendments proposed establishing a wider funding base for the 18 area boards, removing charges for disabled parking, and providing funding for Visit Wiltshire or an equivalent body.

The Chairman of Visit Wiltshire attended the meeting to challenge the council's statements on the effectiveness of Visit Wiltshire.

Meanwhile, the leader of the council, Richard Clewer, was called a “disgrace” after a row broke out over blue badge parking.

4. Wiltshire Council to continue with meat and dairy menus

Councillors voted overwhelmingly to oppose attempts to diminish the role meat, dairy, and arable farmers play in its “rural way of life.”

This came after a motion was submitted by Conservative Councillors Nabil Najjar and Elizabeth Threlfall that committed Wiltshire Council to supporting local poultry, arable and livestock farmers.

A total of 70 councillors voted in favour of the motion.

5. Update on food waste collections in Wiltshire

Wiltshire Council confirmed that it will start collecting weekly food waste from August 1, 2027.

Although the government had previously confirmed that local authorities should provide food waste collection by the end of March 2026, Wiltshire Council was among the local authorities given dispensation due to existing contractual agreements with service providers.

6. Design guide approved for future developments in Wiltshire

A design guide for the appearance of future developments in the county was approved by councillors.

It will provide local design guidance and aim to ensure developments are “consistently high quality.”

The leader of the council, Richard Clewer, said the document was “a really good step forwards.”

The guide is said to be underpinned by “three golden threads”: health and wellbeing, sustainability and climate resilience and getting the right homes in the right places.