Great Shelford precept 2017

Great Shelford Parish Council

The Parish Precept 2017-18

The Parish Council, like the District and County Councils, raises money for its expenditure from your council tax. The Parish Council element of the council tax is called the Parish Precept.

Every year, at this time, the Parish Council is required to submit its budget. This year the Parish Council has submitted a precept requirement of £185,000, the same amount as last year. With slightly more properties in the parish than last year, this will mean a very slight reduction of £0.40 or 0.40% per annum for a band D property.

The parish council would like to explain why we have asked for this sum from your council tax.

Probably the biggest issue in the village of recent years has been traffic – pedestrian and cyclist safety, problems around the school entrance and driving along Church Street, congestion and speeding, parking in Woollards Lane. Last year we allocated a large sum from our budget towards highways improvements. Progress on these has inevitably been slower than we hoped. Those things which depend solely on the parish to implement have been done, such as placing Speed Indicator Devices which flash up a driver’s speed, and collate information on traffic speed. The other planned works have been progressed as far as possible, but depend for their implementation on the County Council’s Highways Department. You will know that the County Council’s staff are under great pressure, because of budgetary constraints, and that the County’s Highways Department has to balance the needs of 101 parishes. So inevitably the work is taking time to come to fruition. We have therefore carried forward the funding for this work from last year’s budget into the budget for 2017 – 2018, so that the works can be carried out as soon as Highways can schedule them. This carry-forward represents 60% of this year’s parish Highways budget. In addition, we have a new highways project for this year: improving safety for pupils at Shelford school by placing flashing warning lights on both sides of the school. We have therefore included some funding in the highways budget to contribute towards their cost.

Another area where expenditure is needed in our growing village is in the provision of recreation facilities. The Playscape project, which will provide exciting new play space and play equipment, continues to be funded largely by appeals or grants but inevitably any parish project requires some support from the Parish Council. To give the Playscape project full value, the parish council feels that accompanying improvements are needed to the recreation ground, riverbank, car park and surrounding facilities. To fund both the new and existing proposals means increasing the budget for the recreation ground by £68,858 for the 2017/2018 budget year.

Another parish aspiration is more recreation space: the recreation ground really isn’t big enough. We have again made a contribution to reserves of £30,000. Along with contributions received from new local building developments – so-called Section 106 contributions – this gives us a pot of money to allow us to contemplate purchasing Grange Field, the field beside the recreation ground, should it become available.

We have included provision within the parish budget for a number of new items. The first is to support planning activities related to the production of a Neighbourhood Plan. This Plan is a valuable tool for establishing the village’s priorities and has value within the planning process: essentially it gives us more control and also a financial incentive, in the shape of higher contributions from developers. Provision has also been made for a possible contribution towards the running of Great Shelford Library. On a more prosaic note, a survey of all the trees for which the parish council is responsible is planned, together with the funds for any resulting tree works.

We have examined all areas of the budget, and tried, as far as possible, to reduce costs compared with previous years: the budgets for plant and tools, contributions to local groups (called S137 Grants), and General Contingency have all been reduced.

The budget for administration includes the work done by our Village Man. Recently he has been employed on a number of tasks such as clearing leaves and gutters. This has addressed a number of areas that were not previously being given much attention and which gave rise to frequent complaints from parishioners. His work has improved the look and feel of the village. We have refurbished all the bus shelters in the village and in the next year we will be giving them a coat of paint so they look their best.

We feel that all the items mentioned above will greatly benefit the village and improve the quality of life. Great Shelford is deservedly a very popular village, because of its vibrant community and excellent facilities. However, growth and popularity bring pressures with new challenges that call for creative solutions. The Parish Council is seeking to do everything in its power to make sure the village continues to be a good place to live.

We have managed this year to hold the Precept application to the same monetary value as last year, viz. at £185,000. This is despite increasing spending by over £30,000 and is accounted for by the carry forward of underspending from last year’s budget.

The precept of £185,000 will give a band D equivalent of £93.81 in 2017-18. This is a decrease of 40p or 0.40% below the band D equivalent charge in 2016-17.

We hope you feel that the improvements will be to your benefit.

Here are the detailed figures for next year’s budget supporting the 2017/2018 Precept: