Sutton Coldfield Town Council, costs and benefits

on Jun 05 in Uncategorized by

All residents of Sutton Coldfield on the electoral register have received a ballot paper to vote on the creation of a new Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council. Some further clarity is needed on how much it will cost local residents.

Recently erected signs mark an awakening of civic confidence in the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield.

A recently erected Royal Town sign marks an awakening civic confidence in Sutton Coldfield.

Most parish and town councils in Warwickshire charge a precept of around £25 or less a year for an average band D property, and this seems a realistic figure for Sutton’s town council.

Royal Leamington Spa Town Council was created in 2002 and their precept for a band D property is less than £19 for the current tax year. Leamington town centre provides a well managed, high quality environment, enjoyed by local residents, (the town’s residential property values are rising significantly faster than in Sutton Coldfield). Might this be, at least in part, due to their local governance structures and effective town management?

Shrewsbury Town Council was created in 2009 and they provide a large number of local services on behalf of Shropshire Council. If Sutton’s residents want to see what can be achieved with a precept of less than £40 per year for a band D property, they should visit the Shrewsbury Town Council website: www.shrewsburytowncouncil.gov.uk.

When Shrewsbury Town Council provides services on behalf of Shropshire Council, the Council Tax is reduced, so residents don’t pay twice for the same service.

Ultimately, the precept for the Sutton Town Council will be no higher than what residents are prepared to pay. They will have the power to elect the town councillors who set the budget. If they set the budget too high they will not be elected again.

Given over 10,000 well-informed residents from Sutton Coldfield have signed a petition asking for a town council, why is Birmingham City Council, (which is still under special measures for chronic failings in governance, education, and child protection), still promoting a Sutton Coldfield District Committee as their preferred alternative?

In his critical review of the governance structures of Birmingham City Council, Sir Bob Kerslake said the council was too controlling and introspective and that regeneration must take place beyond the city centre, and he also went out of his way to state that none of his recommendations should prevent the creation of a Sutton Town Council. This is what residents are now working towards.

Town councils have been proven over centuries to be effective and they now have more powers than ever because they are the Government’s favoured vehicle for greater local democracy.

Given that virtually every flourishing historic town in England has a town council, and they bring new powers and funding, why wouldn’t the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield have one too?

towncouncilcampaign_final

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