TOWN COUNCIL FREEZES ITS SHARE OF COUNCIL TAX BILLS

16 January 2023

 

Swanage Town Council has agreed not to increase its share of local residents’ Council Tax bills for next year. Known as the ‘parish precept’, from 1st April 2023 the ‘average’ Band D charge will remain unchanged at £172 per year, equating to £3.31 per week.
Town Mayor, Councillor Tina Foster, said ‘Like the town’s residents and businesses, the Town Council is also facing the challenge of inflation. However, in light of the sharp rise in the cost of living over the last 12 months, councillors unanimously agreed that the Council should cover higher costs from its reserves and not increase its share of the Council Tax this year’.
By way of comparison, the Band D precept charged by Weymouth Town Council next year will be £181, and for many other Dorset towns, including Dorchester and Wareham, it will be in excess of £200 p.a. Dorset Council’s share of the Council Tax bill is likely to increase by just under 4 per cent, taking a Band D bill from £1,833 to £1,906 per annum.
Each year the Town Council spends approximately £2.5 million directly delivering Council services, such as running Swanage Market, maintaining the beach to Blue Flag standards, tending to parks and gardens and providing public toilets. Additionally, grants and donations are also made to partner organisations, such as the CAB.
The budget for 2023/24, approved on Monday 16th January, also commits £21,000 towards Swanage and Purbeck Development Trust’s proposals to bring together the Children’s Centre and Day Centre as an integrated hub to support the wellbeing of local families.
In addition to its regular day-to-day spending, the Town Council also undertakes projects to ensure that the town’s assets remain fit for purpose for future generations. Schemes completed in the last year include the opening of an extension to Godlingston Cemetery and the installation of a new artificial tennis court at Beach Gardens. Work is about to commence on installing lighting alongside the path across Day’s Park to improve access between Northbrook Road and Ulwell Road.
Looking further ahead, sums have also been set aside to support the Council’s Environment Action Plan, stabilise the seafront land between Sandpit Field and the Spa and make a contribution towards improving sport and leisure facilities at Day’s Park, working with Swanage & Herston Football Club and the Development Trust.
Despite the freeze in household bills, the Council’s income from its share of the Council Tax will increase by £9,000, largely as the result of additional properties being built in Northbrook Road. The precept provides approximately 1/3 of the Town Council’s total annual income with the rest coming from car parking charges, rental and investment income, beach hut hire and the fees charged for Council services (e.g. cemetery, allotments and sports facilities).
Most fees and charges for Council services will be increasing next year, including the cost of parking during the summer season in the Council’s visitor car parks. The 24-hour charge will increase for the first time in a decade from £8 to £9. However, parking charges in the Council’s residents’ and shoppers’ car parks will not increase, and the Council’s popular ‘park all day for £1 initiative’ between November and March will remain in place in its long stay car parks.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, THE COUNCIL'S FULL BUDGET REPORT IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: Agenda Item 4 - Budget Report 2023-24.pdf (swanage.gov.uk)
AND OTHER REPORTS CAN BE FOUND ON THE COUNCIL'S WEBSITE ON THE FOLLOWING PAGES: ‘Publications and Downloads’ and ‘Finance’