SAVINGS of £710,450 were agreed on Wednesdayas Vale of White Horse District Council tightened its belt.

The budget was set at a full council meeting in the Guildhall, Abingdon, after the Government withdrew 16 per cent of funding.

The Liberal Democrat-controlled council was given £5.6m after expecting £6.6m but efficiency savings have meant harsher cuts have been avoided.

As well as agreeing cuts, the council also voted to investigate cutting the numbers of councillors from 51 to 34 in a bid to save £65,000 a year.

One 20p-a-time superloo in Wantage and two in Abingdon will close to save £40,000 a year.

The pest control service will close to save £24,760. Residents will instead be diverted to private firms, which will charge the same as the council.

An increase in garden waste charges will net £28,000, while charges for planning application advice will also be introduced.

But other plans to close crazy golf, pitch-and-putt and tennis facilities at Abbey Meadows, Abingdon, and 25 recycling sites were shelved.

The Vale’s share of the council tax will be frozen and the community grants pot will be increased by £20,000 to £103,000.

The council said cuts to frontline services amounted to £116,600, but the majority of savings would come from within the council.

Savings of £56,800 were also being made in a reduction of partnership grants and the break-up of the Oxfordshire Waste Partnership. Further savings were also being found by reducing youth forums and car park maintenance and withdrawing from climate change schemes.

The councillors voted to give Abingdon Town Council £1.2m in a deal which will see the town take over the running of the town’s Guildhall building from the Vale.

And the council also handed management of Joint Environmental Trusts to town and parish councils.

Richard Webber, executive member for finance, said £1.5m had been saved through partnership work with South Oxfordshire District Council.

He said: “This is not just a reassuringly competent budget. In the circumstances in which local Government finds itself all over the country, it is by any measure a fantastic achievement.”

All the Conservative councillors opposed the budget, with Tory leader Matthew Barber saying it reflected Lib Dem concerns over a May council election.

He said: “The budget we have been presented with tonight is all to do with the election, and very little to do with the administration of the Vale.”