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Clanfield Parish Council Tax Increase 2017 Statement


  • Author: Terry Collins Parish Council Chairman
  • Published: 22nd March 2017
  • Categories: News, Community & Volunteer

The Parish Council understand that there has been some concern / despondency with regards to the increase in the Council Tax for 2017/18 and issue this statement by way of explanation

The Parish Council has not sought an increase in its precept over the past two years in fact the actual amount has decreased in 2015/16 - 4.00% and in 2016/17 - 6.05%, after this years increase, the precept is no more than the average for East Hampshire parishes

Whilst the Council acknowledge that the increase in the precept was the highest in East Hampshire this year it is only fair to mention that other Parish Councils did have substantial increase’s too, e.g. Rowlands Castle, 44.87%, Ropley, 38.15%, Bentley, 37.30%.

Whilst this brings an increase in the overall Council Tax Charges it still makes Clanfield around average for a typical Band D property in East Hampshire, our Band D charge is £1,552.95 in Horndean this is £1,565.55, in Rowlands Castle the charge is £1,566.74, in East Meon the charge is £1,538.37, these are just a few examples of our neighbouring villages.

The Council did not take this course of action lightly but after much deliberation it was agreed that for the year 2017/18 the increase was necessary so that the Parish could pay for the set up and running costs  of the increased facilities it would be taking ownership of during this coming year.

It is important to bring into focus what Clanfield Parish Council is taking responsibility for now that the two new estates are coming to completion along with the Community & Leisure Facilities that they bring with them which will provide first class Leisure, Community and Sports Facilities to an expanding population and giving people from the age of 2 to 92 the opportunity to enjoy such activities on their own door step. These facilities will also make Clanfield not just a ‘nice’ place to live but a ‘great’ place to live.

The Parish has known for several years, indeed this was part of the ‘Parish Plan’, that the Council would eventually take ownership of the Community Facility on Green Lane, this not only includes the building itself but also tennis courts, junior football pitch, outside sports area, children’s play area and allotments. The Parish Council has always given villagers the opportunity to make comments, there are 10 Parish Council meetings a year where all the projects proposed for the village are discussed openly, time is given over to members of the public to discuss anything they feel needs to be raised if they consider themselves to be affected or concerned by these projects. Some members of the public do take advantage of this opportunity to express their opinions. A public exhibition was also held in 2015 at the Memorial Hall in Clanfield to make villagers aware of the proposed projects and to offer their opinions. This proved hugely successful and provided the Parish Council with confirmation that these facilities would be welcomed and were needed to satisfy the needs of our growing village.

Whilst holding funds in reserves for the equipping of the new community building at Windmill View and the associated outdoor facilities, including dragons teeth to protect the open spaces, outdoor seating, bins, noticeboards and associated items, insurance, the initial grass cutting, bin emptying and general upkeep of these areas which will be preserved for village use the unexpected expenditure came by way of the new facilities at St James Place which the parish have now been asked to take ownership of .

The Council have tried to make provision for the costs that would be involved in opening and running the Community building, at the same time trying to keep the precept reasonable, a difficult balancing act. Rising costs of goods and services during the waiting period for the new facilities to be delivered are also a factor. However, we do expect that most of the funds held by the Parish Council will cover the costs involved to set up the Green Lane site.

Previously mentioned is the bowling green and Pavilion at St James Place, with it comes large open spaces, orchard, football pitch, children’s play areas and public foot and cycle paths. These additional facilities were not precepted for as the Parish Council were never consulted in the planning process and consequently did not have time to precept for the cost of goods and services that will be needed here.

It is not yet known how much these areas will take to maintain on a regular basis and it is anticipated that once the initial costings are known then the precept may well be reduced or remain static 

Regarding the Crimea Barn at the St James Place site, the Council consider that saving one of the oldest buildings in the village is important, hence the possibility of saving the Barn was raised and gained immediate support (and this is growing) amongst a section of villagers, both old and new. The Parish Council are in the very early stages of negotiations to secure ownership of the building. Future uses are yet to be decided some ideas have been put forward by members of the public. The crowdfunding has been very successful and demonstrates the interest in preserving the Barn

On a positive note the Parish Council have this year replaced the old but well used skate ramps in Peel Park, re-sited and re-fenced the basketball area; provided new bus shelters; surveyed the Crimea barn; provided new bins all of which have to be emptied; along with the routine grounds maintenance etc which has to be carried out in the Parish open spaces on a regular basis 

The Parish Council made a decision that taking ownership of the new facilities, to compliment those already in Council ownership, was the right decision and although the precept has increased this year to help pay for some of the new amenities fixtures, fittings and services, it is expected that once these facilities are up and running and paying their own way this will be reflected in the setting of future precepts.

With regard to Parish Councillors the reality is that the volunteers who make up the Parish Council and give their time freely serving the community by working on committees, attending meetings, of which there are many, as well as holding down full and part time jobs do so willingly, they are the people who take on the responsibility of making the village of Clanfield a ‘great’ place to live.

Sometimes these decisions take a long time to reach and very often they aren’t easy decisions to make, however, every Parish Councillor is aware of their responsibility to the Parish and the villagers, their only ‘agenda’ is to do a very difficult job well.

There is currently a vacancy on the Council so if anyone is interested in being considered for co-option please contact the Parish Clerk:  clanfieldpc@virginmedia.com for details

Terry Collins

Parish Council Chairman

 

 


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