ACCORDING to the minutes of a recent meeting of Rother’s Improvement and Resources and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committees, “Members felt it was important to get the message over to the parishes that Rother was facing 29 per cent cuts and that it was made clear what a burden the council was facing.
It would be important for the council to progress devolvement of services to parish councils; Members felt that the parishes were ‘ready’ to deal with this”.
Note no mention of making Bexhill residents aware of the burden or suggestion that services be devolved to Bexhill Special Expenses but perhaps that was an oversight?
But are parishes “ready to deal with this”? I was pleased to see in the Observer that Battle Town Council has agreed not to increase the Precept for 2011/2012.
I hope they stand fast when Rother come knocking at the door suggesting that Battle take on further responsibilities. We need to remember that Battle rate payers already pay for their street lighting, cemetery and recreation grounds whilst also contributing to street lighting throughout East Sussex, and cemeteries and recreation grounds throughout Rother.
And, too, looking at the Council Tax Base remind ourselves that the parishes together contribute some £4m more than Bexhill.
I suggest Rother rein in their capital programme. Having spent £5m on the seafront we are now being asked our views on yet another Bexhill regeneration scheme – their town centre. I suggest too they should not cut the £200,000 they put aside for parish capital schemes for which they require the parish to raise half the cost.