18% hike in Steyning Parish Council tax to pay for skate park legal challenges

George Cockman

George Cockman

First published in News by

A local authority is to raise council tax by more than 18% to cover potential legal fees arising from a controversial skate park development.

Steyning Parish Council hope the increase for the 2014/15 financial year will also cover the costs of two judicial reviews imposed on them in 2013 - both of which they won.

Reaction in the historic village has been mixed, but councillors still insist locals are getting “value for money”.

Councillor Sue Rogers, said: “It is important to recognise this is the parish precept. It is only one part of what goes into your overall council tax. So each week for a band D property it will add up to around 25p.

“These are difficult times we are living in and we understand it is difficult for some to even find that amount each week.

“But I would say the people of Steyning still receive value for money with regards to the services.”

The main factor for the increase is the controversial plan for a skate park in Memorial Playing Field.

Two judicial reviews were launched with regards to the development in 2013 - both of which the council won.

However, no order for costs was made with the parish council forced to cover the expense.

The development, which has been at the centre of a debate regarding potential excessive noise and anti-social behaviour, is set to go before planning committee in March.

With the council receiving numerous letters from residents threatening to take legal action over noise if accepted, a spokesman said it would be “irresponsible” not to put money aside.

Coun Rogers added: “I think it is a sensible move. But obviously we hope there are no problems.”

Stephanie Laurence, who works in Steyning Pet Shop, in High Street, described the rise as “disgusting”.

She said: “It has been a particularly difficult year for everyone and this sounds like a very big increase.

“Residents need less tax not more.”

However, independent Horsham District Council member, George Cockman MBE, said he was pleased with the rise.

The Steyning-based councillor said: “Local authorities are playing catch-up for years of refusing to raise council taxes.

“The increases I have proposed are the equivalent to a bottle of coke each month.  People wouldn't notice it but it makes a huge difference in terms of what the council has to spend.

“I'm pleased with the rise.”

Comments (4)

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7:40am Thu 30 Jan 14

greenpaws says...

Conservatives on Portland Town Council propose a rise of almost 1,000% (http://t.co/bmidSon
6sR) and now Steyning Parish Council propose 18%.

Councils that have to look after the elderly and disabled though can't raise CT more than 2% even when accumulated rises are 7.5% BELOW inflation.

The government doesn't want to be the one cutting essential services despite the fact they cut the money knowing that will have to be the result.

It's sick!

Councils have been cut by 38% and government departments have only been cut by 8%. Still, they have planned MORE CUTS!

The Tories want a freeze to make the situation worse and Warren (I just want power) Morgan just wants to play politics.

Warren Morgan was happy when Labour put CT by upto 14% but didn't care that the low paid didn't have wage rises anywhere near that. His party's government didn't give more financial powers to councils.

The bottom paid in this country have been proportionately worse off since 2003. Clearly Labour failed and now the Tories and Lib Dems are failing.

The Greens offer a positive alternative. In the meantime, we should share the cost to protect the vulnerable against the government cuts!
Conservatives on Portland Town Council propose a rise of almost 1,000% (http://t.co/bmidSon 6sR) and now Steyning Parish Council propose 18%. Councils that have to look after the elderly and disabled though can't raise CT more than 2% even when accumulated rises are 7.5% BELOW inflation. The government doesn't want to be the one cutting essential services despite the fact they cut the money knowing that will have to be the result. It's sick! Councils have been cut by 38% and government departments have only been cut by 8%. Still, they have planned MORE CUTS! The Tories want a freeze to make the situation worse and Warren (I just want power) Morgan just wants to play politics. Warren Morgan was happy when Labour put CT by upto 14% but didn't care that the low paid didn't have wage rises anywhere near that. His party's government didn't give more financial powers to councils. The bottom paid in this country have been proportionately worse off since 2003. Clearly Labour failed and now the Tories and Lib Dems are failing. The Greens offer a positive alternative. In the meantime, we should share the cost to protect the vulnerable against the government cuts! greenpaws
  • Score: -6

8:49am Thu 30 Jan 14

HJarrs says...

What's the betting the usual suspects do not comment on Steyning's staggering rise.
What's the betting the usual suspects do not comment on Steyning's staggering rise. HJarrs
  • Score: 4

12:46pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Goldenwight says...

If people choose to involve their elected Councils in expensive legal challenges they have to be prepared to pay the cost.
If people choose to involve their elected Councils in expensive legal challenges they have to be prepared to pay the cost. Goldenwight
  • Score: 2

5:22pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Sussex jim says...

Presumably Steyning PC will reduce the tax next year if there are no legal charges to pay.
Presumably Steyning PC will reduce the tax next year if there are no legal charges to pay. Sussex jim
  • Score: 2

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