Council Tax increase

14th March 2019 / News, News-HP

Devolution – the transfer of assets and services from Wiltshire Council to Chippenham Town Council

Chippenham Town Council recognises that Wiltshire Council cannot afford to continue providing many services at the same level because of the way its funding has been cut by government. They need to make further savings next year of over £27million. After months of negotiation Chippenham Town Council now has broad agreement on which assets will come into its ownership and which services it will now be responsible for.

Last autumn the leader of Chippenham Town Council Councillor Sandie Webb, Chief Executive of Chippenham Town Council Mark Smith and other senior staff began talking to Wiltshire Council about taking over a number of assets and services they felt would be better looked after in their hands.

There are still fine details to be agreed but the transfer is set to take place from 1st June 2019, and many local services will be determined, funded and delivered at a local level.

The final package of services and assets to transfer to Chippenham Town Council consists of the following:

Services:

• All grounds maintenance services within the Chippenham Town Boundary
• All Streetscene services within the Chippenham Town Boundary
• Responsibility of amenity land hard areas and assets.
• Responsibility for Streetscene assets on the highway
• All tree maintenance for those trees not on the Public Highway
• Management of the weekly Friday and Saturday market
• The maintenance of play areas

The responsibility to carry out services and maintenance on all land assets will be discharged by way of an Agency Agreement.

Assets to be freehold transferred:

• Neeld Community & Arts Centre
• Yelde Hall
• Monkton Park Open Space
• Patterdown Allotments
• Patterdown Rifle Range
• Englands Social Centre
• Territorial Army Reserves Hut (Sea Cadets)
• Monkton Park Golf Centre

There will be income generated from some assets and services such as the weekly markets, however, taking on the extra work to maintain and improve these assets will mean more expenditure for Chippenham Town Council.

On 12th December 2018 the Strategy and Resources Committee were informed that the additional cost to Chippenham Town Council for taking on additional assets and services would be £550,000 in the first year, followed by the usual inflationary increases.
The Committee supported the motion that Chippenham Town Council takes on the assets and services and agreed that this figure be included in the overall budget.
This committee recommended that Full Council, all 24 Councillors, would decide the final outcome at the Full Council meeting on 16 January 2019.

Councillors discussed the council tax and budget at the Full Council meeting and a unanimous vote was taken, and a 37.5% increase was agreed.
eg. A Band D council tax will increase from £174.20 to £239.61 per year for a Band D home which is the weekly equivalent of £1.26per week.

If you would like to see the reports, agendas and minutes for committee meetings and Full Council meetings, they can all be accessed from our website www.chippenham.gov.uk.

If you would like any more information, please contact us on 01249 446699 or email enquiries@chippenham.gov.uk.

Mark Smith
Chief Executive, Chippenham Town Council