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Wincanton Town Council Submits Annual Precept for 2016/17

Wednesday 24 February 2016, 18:41
By John Smith

Wincanton Town Hall and Community Office

Every year Town and Parish Councils have to submit an annual budget to District Council, which is a simple request for funds to run their towns and parishes. The posh name for this budget is the ‘precept’. It contains full financial details of the anticipated town/parish expenses for the next year 2016.

Over the last two months Wincanton Town Council has compiled their precept for the year 2016/17. The final document was signed by Mayor Howard Ellard on Monday 25th January at the normal full Council meeting, and will now be submitted to South Somerset District Council (SSDC ) for consideration and implementation. When confirmed by SSDC, the final precept amount will be collected as a part of the annual residential council tax. That's how your council is funded.

The run-of-the-mill activities of the Town Council don’t differ widely from year-to-year, and in general terms the precept stays the same, barring inflation. However, this year the Council is seeking to raise additional funding to undertake two activities it considers key to the well-being of the town.

Cale Park play area, in desperate need of some TLC

Firstly, funding for the Cale Park project is slightly short of target, to the tune of about £20k. Whilst fund-raising activities continue to close this gap, the Council thought it wise to fill this shortfall via the precept. It seems to be widely felt that the works should be completed as soon as possible, and in addition, some of the grants received to date compel the project to start very soon.

Secondly, the Town Council is compiling the Neighbourhood Plan, a document which, when completed, needs to be adopted by formal process. The Neighbourhood Plan will set out the community (residential and business) view as to how the town should be developed, and will be a powerful tool to help the Council keep future planning applications and permissions in line with community wishes.

In addition, communities with an adopted Neighbourhood Plan will have access to a larger slice of the Community Infrastructure Levy that is paid by developers. The Town Council has budgeted to spend £10k on the Neighbourhood Plan next year.

Image courtesy of Locality - (illustrator James Munro)
Image courtesy of Locality - (illustrator James Munro)

The effect of these two one-off expenses is to increase the total town precept by £30k. However, savings in other areas of the budget have mitigated this increase. Consequently, the total increase proposed for next year is only £24k. For a band D household, this equates to an increase in Council Tax of £8.20 for the year April 2016 to March 2017.

The Town Council believe that the majority of the community will be happy to incur this very modest one-off additional charge in order to benefit from the Cale Park development and the completion of the Neighbourhood Plan.

To get a more comprehensive overview of what the Town Council does for us, have a look at their website. They probably do more than you think.


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