At a time when Stafford Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council and Staffordshire Police are making cuts to the services provided, parish councils are finding it necessary to deliver more and every penny the parish council receives is allocated to be spent locally on key services for local people.
For many years, the Parish Council has tried to keep its costs to parishioners low but now finds it necessary to make a small increase to the precept to meet the increased financial demands. If we had not done this, it might have been necessary to reconsider the activities and services we provide.
Stafford Borough Council awards a grant to parishes to fund services which would usually be undertaken by the Authority (the concurrent grant) but this has reduced in recent years. In 2008 the Parish Council received £5617 whereas since 2012 it has received £3680, a drop of almost £2000.
At the same time, the Parish Council is responsible for maintaining many areas and facilities within the parish that come with ongoing maintenance costs, all of which have to be budgeted for. We always look for funding opportunities and have been successful with many of our applications. However, as we all know, the cost of all services has risen and continues to rise. Therefore, extra funds are required if we are to maintain the services we currently provide.
The Parish Council feels that we provide excellent value for the precept, when other local Parish Councils charge more than we do for less service provision. We provide many facilities and services and arrange community events during the year to the benefit of parishioners. As a result of our high standards, Gnosall Parish Council has recently received a Quality Gold award in recognition of the difference it makes to the lives of the people that live here. This demonstrates that our Council is at the forefront of best practice and achieves excellence in governance, community leadership and council development.
The council tax Parish element for a Band D property in 2018/19 will be £32.28 per year, a rise of only £2.00 spread over the whole year, i.e. 4 pence per week.
Tennis Court Project Update
The Parish Council has now appointed an approved (S.A.P.C.A) Tennis Court Contractor to build a tennis court on The Acres, adjacent to the existing basketball area. Work is expected to commence late March/early April, depending on weather conditions. The work will entail making a vehicle access to the site through the current banking on Brookhouse Road, which will then be reinstated to make a new pedestrian access through the banking with new pathways for easy wheelchair, pushchair and disability scooter access.
The contract will take 6 to 8 weeks to complete with the Tennis Court being marked out 3 weeks after the 'Match Play' top surface has been applied. A further 3-5 days for the painted surface to harden off will be needed before play can commence so watch out for details of the official opening.
A raised viewing area will be created on 3 sides of the Tennis Court, using the estimated 250 tonnes of topsoil excavated for the court foundation preparation work. This will then be grassed over by re-seeding and seating may installed at a later date when the viewing area has stabilised. Re-using this topsoil on site will save the parish council £5600:00 in removal charges so it seems to be a win-win strategy!