Money budgeted for CCTV as Alnwick Town Council sets precept

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Town councillors agreed to set aside £15,000 in the next financial year towards the replacement of the ageing CCTV system in Alnwick.

The discussions came as the authority set its budget and precept for 2015/16 at its meeting last Thursday night.

Having agreed this figure, this took the budget for next year to £244,253, which is to be fully met by the precept, rather than using the council’s reserves.

This means that the precept – the town or parish-council element of a resident’s council-tax bill – will be £93.62 for a band D property in 2015/16, up from £84.76 this year, which was well below the average town precept in the county.

It means band D residents will be paying an extra 17p a week for the services that the town council provides.

The town’s CCTV system is the responsibility of the county council, but was installed by Alnwick District Council in 2004 and is outdated, with upgrading necessary.

A similar situation exists in many of Northumberland’s other towns and the county council is planning a review.

Given the financial pressures on the local authority, it was felt that there is a strong possibility that the town council may need to put funding towards any replacement or new cameras.

Coun Gordon Castle proposed the £15,000, saying: “i do think that we should be involved closely in it. We also should make some financial allowance in the budget.”

Coun Peter Broom agreed, adding: “I feel that it shouldn’t be the town council’s responsibility to cover business premises.

“It’s a hard one, but I think we should be encouraging businesses to be involved.”

Coun Alan Symmonds said: “I was thinking not so much of business premises, but the protection of the citizens of Alnwick.

“It’s the public protection element that wins my vote on this.”

Coun David Farrar pointed out that CCTV can help businesses and protect the public – ‘it’s not one or the other’.

Aside from the extra £15,000 for CCTV, other major changes include an additional £7,000 for larger office accommodation, an additional £10,000 for the delivery of the neighbourhood plan/community action plan and £10,000 towards a new tractor at the cemetery.

Councillors have also agreed to spend £6,000 to fund an extra daily clean of the public toilets in The Shambles between April and October and supporting up to three more businesses joining the You’re Welcome scheme and allowing the public to use their facilities.