5p extra on council tax bills
Local services will cost Alnwick householders an extra 5p a week in the coming year as the town council dips into balances to keep council tax bills down.
The town’s share of the tax will be £51.87 a year for a band D property, an increase of £2.60 a year or 5.28 per cent.
The budget from April 2013 will be £155,079, but councillors have set a precept of £145,079 and made up the rest by taking £10,000 from balances,which stand at about £100,000.
They considered a suggestion from Coun David Farrar to make the increase £4 a year or £53.27 to allow for possible extra demands in future years as the Government shakes up benefits. But in the vote Coun Farrar was the only supporter.
Council tax bills would have been higher in the coming year if a one-off grant had not been made by the county council, aided by the Government, to offset the impact of removing households on council tax support from the equation. That is worth £14,186 to Alnwick and £660,000 in total to parishes. in Northumberland. It is not known what will happen the following year.
Alnwick does not need to make provision for shouldering county council services in 2013 because such transfers have been dropped by the county at a late stage.
But town councillors will offer to go ahead with taking responsibility for Swansfield Park and its play area as soon as possible. When the park was created, the developer paid Alnwick District Council an endowment for
maintenance after its first 10 years and this fund – now worth £217,155 – is becoming available now. It should provide about £10,000 a year.
Coun Jeff Watson warned that some repairs were needed and should be accounted for.
Coun Gordon Castle said: “The nearer you have control, the more likely you are to get a satisfactory job. The county recognises that parishes on the
whole are better placed to look after these kinds of community facilities. I think this is an opportunity we should not miss.”
Mayor Coun Alan Symmonds said prudence had been maintained on Alnwick’s council tax precept. “I am very excited personally about the ongoing local control and local management of services because I believe that augurs well for the council and the people of Alnwick.”
Demand grows for parking
Demand is growing for residents’ parking in parts of Alnwick, according to Coun Gordon Castle.
He asked that the council look at the idea, saying the only scheme it had set up was in St Michael’s Square and now that there were traffic enforement officers it was becoming effective.
“The one that’s giving most trouble is Clayport Street – it’s close enough to the town centre for people to park all day and avoid parking charges.”
County did not have permission
Northumberland County Council erected an advertising sign at Alnwick’s Willowburn Industrial Estate before it had planning permission, town councillors heard.
Town clerk Bill Batey has written to the county, saying: “The town council is concerned at the approach being taken by the county council and the very poor example being set by the planning authority with respect to advertising signs.”
Crackdown on advertising
Unauthorised advertising on vans and trailers parked at busy road junctions is being pursued by the county council, Alnwick town councillors were told after Coun Bruce Hewison raised an example on the A1068. Mayor Coun Alan Symmonds said the county enforcement department was going to speak to
the company concerned. Coun Hewison said he was amazed the police had taken no action.
Call for street clean-up
A clean-up is needed in parts of Alnwick where people have thrown away
chewing gum in the street, said Coun Susan Allcroft.
There was a huge
amount at the side of Morrisons and some near the cobbles in Bondgate
“It just looks totally unsightly,” she said.