Financial control is badly lacking in Battle

From: Tony Calloway, Battlegates, Battle

Friday, 8th March 2019, 9:16 am
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 9:20 am
Almonry Gardens, Battle. SUS-160311-103227001

The last two issues of the Observer (February 22 and March 1) have reported on the massive increase of Council Tax for Battle along with details of major projects proposed for the Almonry and Recreation Ground.

The excellent letters on the matter printed in your March 1 paper from Peter Mills and Ron Harris will, I am sure, be supported by the vast majority of Battle taxpayers – me included.

It strikes me that financial control by council members is badly lacking if previous years of collected tax, along with the substantial cash reserves once held, has been spent on items that did not include essential maintenance on the fabric of the Almonry.

Where has it been spent?

The proposal to build a new Pavilion in the Recreation Ground beggars belief.

If the changing rooms need an uplift, it could surely be achieved within the existing structure.

To include a café is a loss leader, I doubt if the set-up cost would ever be recovered from the takings.

The last time the council ran a café it was in the Almonry and it lost many thousands of pounds.

My wife and I have lived in Battle well in excess of 30 years and until recent years, the town council worked on the basis of maintaining a place where it was a joy to live with a flourishing High Street and endeavoured to hold Council Tax increases to no more than the rate of inflation.

We now have a town council who have agreed to increase the tax to a ridiculous level.

Why do we need a wedding venue at the Almonry and a café in the rec, both to be in competition with rate-paying High Street providers?

We can only hope that the May council election will create a town council that will be better able to provide the residents of Battle what it really requires at a cost they are happy to pay.