Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
18% hike in Steyning Parish Council tax to pay for skate park legal challenges
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 are closed on this article.