Amesbury council tax to go up

First published in News

AMESBURY town council is increasing council tax by five per cent in the next financial year.

Residents in the town will see the precept they pay to the town council increase from April - with the average band D household paying £57.66.

Councillor Roger Fisher told the council that although 2012 had been a great year for Amesbury with a host of special events, they had come at a cost and the council would be looking at ways to reduce spending this year.

One particular cause for concern is the £10,000 the council spends annually on the community and visitor centre in Stonehenge Walk.

Run by volunteers, the centre offers visitor information about the town, a place for community groups to promote their work, mayoral surgeries and the sale of second hand books, arts and crafts.

“Unfortunately it is quite a drain on our resources,” said cllr Fisher. “I think it is reasonable to investigate grant funding and other income streams to keep the service going.”

Funding for Amesbury Carnival will be reduced to £1,000 for the coming year although cllr Fisher said the event is now on a more stable financial footing.

The council will also be careful with the funds it awards community groups and a plan to provide new allotments at South Mill has been scrapped.

However, provision will be made for the youth council and facilities for young people in a bid to tackle recent spates of antisocial behaviour in the town.

“We must be mindful of recent welfare reform and the economic climate which is putting pressure on households,” said cllr Fisher.

“However, besides the small increase when we purchased the Mellor Hall for the Amesbury museum, this is the first precept increase in three years.”

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