Would a town council cost Rother a lot?

Having a town council would cost Rother almost nothing: the cost of the initial election would be charged to the new council and creating the town council would be a negligible cost to Rother.

Furthermore, having a town council is likely to save Rother money, as it could free up some of Rother’s expenditure if the town council takes over any of its services; this would have to be agreed by the elected Bexhill Town Councillors and Rother itself. Rother is currently cutting services year on year due to the ongoing loss of central government grants which are dropping this year by a massive four fifths, from 570k to 110k in April 2018, and will have gone completely by 2021. The town council could help to replace services at risk.

But what about the cost for me?

Rother estimates that the extra cost on the council tax would be 12p per household per week, assuming a running cost of £ 100,000. When divided by a tax base of 16,200 “band D” equivalent Council taxpayers, this means £ 6 per year per band D” household. It would be even less for people in the lower bands because of their circumstances. D4B estimates this running cost would be slightly higher at 15p per week per Band D household, on a running cost of £ 126,000. This is assuming that the town council would be based in rented shop front premises in Bexhill town centre, and councillors would not be paid.

Beyond the basic costs, Bexhill town councillors might wish to provide services that are in demand, such as a youth club, more support for charities, a project to help the isolated and lonely, evening transport, a housing advice centre or a town improvement project, and these would have to be paid for.

But remember, the cost would be shared among the 44,000 residents, and Bexhill town councillors would probably be very aware of the need to use money wisely and not introduce a service that is not needed. Also, there are other sources of money, not just the council tax. These include the Coastal Communities Fund, financed by the National Lottery at no cost to the taxpayers of Bexhill and the Community Infrastructure Levy which is a levy on developers building new homes.

You will find the detailed costings here:  Bexhill Town Council first year costs 20171029

D4B’s figures have been partly reviewed by the Sussex & Surrey Associations of Local Councils as well as the Town Clerk of Rye.

Clarification or further information available from Paul Courtel on 07712 178 546 or paul.courtel@btinternet.com

 

 

October Newsletter

We hadn’t anticipated contacting you again so soon but there is so much happening that we just had to let you know about, so read on!

Eddie Izzard supports D4B’s campaign for town council

Sidley born Eddie Izzard, a passionate supporter of Bexhill generally, the DLWP and the museum has added his weight to the campaign. Thank you, Eddie!

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Consultation period extended to 31st October

In the last newsletter we told you that following a successful legal challenge by D4B member Simon Read the council had been forced to accept responses by any method that residents choose, not just online or using official Rother postcards.

The council said they would change the website information to reflect this but they didn’t do so until two weeks later, and then only because D4B pointed out that it was still to be done. They also failed to make the changes clear to all councillors resulting in one D4B member being told by a councillor that responses on D4B postcards would be put in the bin!

Simon took these points up with the council’s legal officer suggesting that as incorrect information continued to be provided for two weeks longer than it should, the council should extend the consultation period by two weeks. So, the closing date for responses is now 5 pm, Friday 31st October.

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The next push

How do we make the most of these extra 18 days? We have many ideas, and there is one that you can help with. Although there has been a good distribution of responses from across Bexhill there are some streets that are not as well represented. If you live in or close to one of the streets listed below could you call on the residents to ask if they have voted, and if not give them a leaflet and postcard and encourage them to reply – hopefully by doing so there and then?

If so please email info@democracy4bexhill.com so that we can co-ordinate volunteers to avoid duplication of effort (and possible annoyance from householders!) and provide you with leaflets and postcards.

  • Alfray, Ashcombe Drive
  • Barrack Road, Beaulieu Road, Bishops Walk, Brett Drive, Buckholt Avenue, Buxton Drive
  • Carfax Close, Ceylon Walk, Chestnut Walk, Chichester Close, Claxton, Collington Avenue, Cooden Close, Copse Road
  • Endwell Road,
  • Filsham Drive
  • Georgian, Gibb Close, Glazebrook Close, Glenthorn Road, Grand Avenue, Grange Court Drive, Gunters Lane
  • Haslam Crescent, Herbrand Walk, Hever Crescent, Homelands Close
  • Ian Close
  • Jubilee Road
  • Kewhurst Avenue
  • Laburnum Gardens, Langley Close
  • Magpie Close, Manor Road, Meadow Crescent, Meads Avenue, Meads Road, Milland Close, Millfield Rise
  • North Road
  • Oakfield Way, Oakleigh Road, Ocklynge Close
  • Pebsham Lane, Penhurst Drive, Pleyden Rise, Popps Lane, Primrose Hill
  • Ravens Close, Redwell Avenue, Richmond Avenue, Richmond Grove, Ringwood Road, Rowan Gardens
  •  Saint Mary’s Lane (north), Sandown Way, Saxby Road, Second Avenue, Sidley Green, Sidley Street, St Davids Avenue, St Marks Close, Summer Hill Road, Sutherland Avenue (north)
  • The Mead, Third Avenue, Thornbank Crescent, Ticehurst Avenue, Turkey Road,
  • Wartling Drive, Warwick Road, Watergate, Watermill Close, White Hill Drive, Willow Drive, Windmill Drive.

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Other ways you can help

It has come to our attention that some councillors have given out misinformation and in one case even refused to discuss the four options with one of their electors. We need to know if these are just isolated incidents or if happening on a wider scale.

We need a couple of D4B supporters in each of the nine wards to contact their councilors, preferably by email, to politely ask them about the review options, request a postcard and ask them what their personal opinion is of the options. Hopefully their replies will be by email thus providing us with a clear picture of how well and accurately all the Bexhill councilors are in engaging with residents on the review.

This information is required for possible use in any further legal challenge on the conduct of the review and consultation process, not to embarrass or name and shame individual councillors. If you would like to help in this way please email infor@democracy4bexhill.com.

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The D4B song video – now available online

Written by D4B member Brian Cope, accompanied by D4B’s video producer extraordinaire Sam Coleman the video features Brian and an intrepid team of D4B singing supporters against a background of well-known seafront landmarks. It has been well viewed on Face Book and can also be viewed on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2HnzBxrNhU

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Posters, posters posters…

We still have stocks of posters as well and many leaflets and two ‘ballot boxes’. Do you have somewhere you could place a poster? Is there a meeting you could take some leaflets to? An event where one of the ‘ballot boxes’ could be used? If so please email infor@democracy4bexhill.com.

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What do town councils DO?

Some people have asked for more details of what a town council can do, and we have posted some information on the D4B website of what other towns are up to. (see https://www.democracy4bexhill.com/index.php/category/articles/)

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Reaching young people

There is no minimum age limit on who can vote, so it is important that we reach school and college students. If you have a young person in your house, or means of getting through to them, do see if you can fire them up with the enthusiasm of “voting” for the first time and getting their opinions taken seriously. This whole process is fascinating and great for teachers too.

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Thank you

The D4B committee are very pleased with the progress made on the campaign for a town council for Bexhill but are very conscious that this is due as much to you, our hundreds of supporters, as it is to the committee. Thank you to all of you for spreading the word, displaying posters and delivering leaflets. Your support has been very uplifting and a great encouragement to us in the campaign.