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Melksham Without Parish Council precept & budget 2021/22

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MELKSHAM Without Parish Council has agreed to a reduction in precept of 1.5% for 2021/22, whilst maintaining all services and continuing with existing projects. 

The precept is the proportion of council tax which is paid to the parish council. The parish council reports, “To have kept the precept at the previous level would have meant an increase of £3 a year on the average charge to residents, due to the transfer of around 100 houses from the parish area to the town. This is a consequence of the recent Community Governance Review because there will be less households in the parish to contribute. The reduction in precept will cut that increase back to £1.78 per year, with residents paying an extra 3½ pence per week for parish services and facilities. 

“The budget for 2021/22 was agreed at the full council meeting held on Monday 25th January. The council unanimously agreed to set its precept at £217,977.05 for the 2021/22 financial year, which is a decrease of £3,256.95 (-1.5%) on last year’s precept.  This means that the average Band D household will contribute £82.11 to Melksham Without Parish Council, a rise of £1.78 on last year, which is a 2.21% rise. Band D properties are used as a measure of the national average, and some households will see a smaller or bigger increase, based on their band rating for Council Tax.

“The parish council run a number of facilities and services in the parish from this precept funding and support a number of community ventures in both the parish, as well as those in the town and villages outside the parish. It currently runs and maintains five play areas (Berryfield, Shaw, Beanacre and Kestrel Court & Hornchurch Road in Bowerhill) with two more to be taken on from the developers in the new housing developments in the Bellway development on Semington Road and the Taylor Wimpey development in Pathfinder Place, Bowerhill. In addition, it also owns two playing fields, one in Bowerhill and one in Shaw (The Beeches). 

“The parish council took on some additional grasscutting last year, on public open space owned by Wiltshire Council, to improve the cutting in some areas and for wildflower meadow areas in patches on the public open spaces.  The parish council has two allotment sites, both in Berryfield, which have almost full occupancy of 70+ tenants at present.

“The parish council contributes to a variety of joint ventures with Melksham Town Council such as the Melksham Neighbourhood Plan, development of Shurnhold Fields mini country park and the public toilets in the Market Place.  It is also contributing towards new furniture for the new café and plaza at the Melksham Railway Station.   As well as joint ventures, the parish council provides grant funding (£26,230 in the current financial year with a higher amount budgeted for next year).    

“These grants provide valuable funding for all the village halls in the parish; Shaw, Bowerhill, Whitley Reading Rooms and the temporary hall in Berryfield as well as a wide spread of clubs, support groups, and organisations that provide sporting activities, village publications, events, and activities for young and old.  The grants are for those organisations that benefit the residents of Melksham Without, so are not all contained in the parish, some are based in the town or in other villages outside the parish. £1,000 was donated to the Melksham Foodbank in October to support the good work they have been doing supporting residents during the Covid pandemic and resulting lockdown restrictions. 

“The parish council has received additional funding from the Government’s CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) scheme which is a levy directly on new housing developments in the parish.  When budget setting, the council has not put money into reserves for future projects that could be paid for from CIL and will look to use the CIL funding for a variety of infrastructure projects including the development and kitting out of a new village hall in Berryfield, in association with the approved planning application of 150 houses in land to the east of Semington Road. 

“All the CIL received to date from the 450 houses East of Spa Road (The Acorns/ Hunters Wood) will be transferred to the town council in the next financial year; this is £315,000 which the parish council has earmarked for several years for the construction of a new community centre, east of Melksham. 

“The community funding received from Sandridge Solar Farm has been used this year, and for next, to fund cleaning of the play areas’ safety surfacing, tree works, pavement weedspraying, new street furniture and the fortnightly installation of the speed indicator device across the parish. Other budgeted items are for highway improvement projects working with Wiltshire Council’s CATG (Community Area Transport Group), a new bus shelter on Falcon Way, Bowerhill, play area repairs and additional outdoor exercise equipment at Shaw Playing Field.

“A copy of the minutes of the parish council’s finance committee meeting (11th January) when the budget and precept were discussed in detail, is available to view by clicking on the finance committee link below.

A copy can also be obtained from contacting officers on 01225 705700 or by email clerk@melkshamwithout.co.uk 

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