Youth service spending bumps up cost for Sidmouth taxpayers

Sidmouth Youth Centre is set to be re-opened as a Christmas gift to the town's youngsters. Ref shs 2

Sidmouth Youth Centre is set to be re-opened as a Christmas gift to the town's youngsters. Ref shs 2335-49-14. Picture: Simon Horn. - Credit: Archant

Saving the youth centre is coming at a price for Sidmouth householders, who will see their town council contributions go up seven per cent this year.

Civic leaders made the decision to fund youth provision in the town late last year, after county council budget cuts forced the centre to close - but the £36,000 cost of doing so has had ‘quite a significant impact’ on the budget.

The increase in the town council’s precept amounts to a £4.04 increase for a council tax band D property – bumping the annual budget up to £413,328, from £381,578 last year.

Councillor John Dyson said: “The youth service provision has effectively had quite a significant impact on our plans for the next year.”

He put forward the proposal at Monday’s council meeting to raise the budget for youth provision from £5,200 to £24,000.

On top of this, there is a £12,000 cost for the Manstone Lane youth centre building.

Councillors unanimously agreed to the allocation of funds to ensure young people in the town are provided for.

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A £10,000 fund is also being set aside to go towards play areas in the Sid Valley.

In addition, £8,000 has been allocated for the Long Park and Play Area, this is down from £12,000 last year.

Other areas of spending include a new seagull management programme, and an allocation of £25,000 towards building a boat jetty for the town.

Savings were made with cuts to Sidmouth Information Centre and the council advertisement budget.

The cost of running Stowford Community Centre is less than previously anticipated, so the allocated money was slashed from £15,000 to £5,000.

Funds for grants to organisations in the town remain at £12,000.

Reviewing the overall budget increase, Cllr Graham Liverton made the point that Sidmouth Town Council has taken on responsibility for some services.

He said: “When you consider the play areas and keeping the toilets open through the winter and the youth centre, those are all things that are not town council responsibility.

“The county council can’t pay.”

He added: “When people say the town council do not do a lot, it is a load of rubbish, we do do a lot and we will continue to do it.”

Cllr Ian Barlow said: “The increase is the youth centre - that is bringing the (town council’s portion of the) council tax up by seven per cent.”