Sidmouth Town Council defended after backlash from tax bill increase

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 March 2018

There will be a five per cent rise on council tax.

There will be a five per cent rise on council tax.

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Civic leaders have defended raising their share of residents' council tax bills by 9.2 per cent.

A disgruntled resident took to social media to slam Sidmouth Town Council (STC) for providing ‘pathetic’ floral displays, labelling the resort a ‘sorry little town’.

The authority will take 3p of every pound from residents’ overall council tax bills, with the rest of the money going to the police, fire service and district and county councils.

Posting on social networking site NextDoor, Sidmouth resident of 28 years, Nick Diprose, said he had watched the town ‘going steadily in a downhill direction’.

He added: “What exactly do we get for our huge council tax bill anyway? Roads and pavements swept, weeds cleared, potholes and broken street lights fixed, selfish and ignorantly parked vehicles removed, public conveniences properly repaired and cleaned?

“I don’t think so, just pathetic floral displays to please the tourists, plus the occasional festive bauble or two. This sorry little town doesn’t need a one-tier council, let alone a two-tier one.”

Other residents also asked for clarification on exactly what the rise was for.

STC said the 9.2 per cent rise in its precept was due to a squeeze on upper-level councils and it taking on some of the services the other authorities formerly carried out.

Councillor Jeff Turner said members chose to increase their budget in a number of areas. This included £5,000 for Sidmouth Information Centre, £20,000 for the Manstone Recreation Ground and play area, £8,000 for grass cutting, £20,000 for the Port Royal regeneration, with other cash spent on Christmas lights.

Cllr Ian Barlow said the council also helped fund the Red Arrows, the Admiral Nurse, FolkWeek, the skate park, the golf and football clubs, sports areas the Hopper Bus, some public toilets and the Neighbourhood Plan.

He added: “If you don’t like the way it’s run, join the council – all you have to do is stand at election time and win.

“If you truly think this is a ‘sorry little town’ then move to another one and think yourself lucky you live in a country where democracy allows you to do so.”

Annually, the average household pays £1,100 to Devon County Council, £75 to adult social care, £70 to the fire service, £165 to the police, £120 to EDDC and £70 to STC.

Visit sidmouth.gov.uk to see a breakdown of its precept.

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