There was a very positive response to the survey throughout the Parish, with a response rate of 35%. There was an overwhelming expression of opinion that the major issues in the Parish are the need to upgrade the streetlights; the need to act on traffic calming measures and the wish to enhance the area in which we live.
These three issues have all been the cause of concern and discussion items on agendas for the Parish Council over a period of time, so it was gratifying that the residents underlined them.
As we all know, these improvements come at a cost. 69% of the respondents answered that they acknowledged the need to raise the precept to pay for them. This equates to a striking 23% of the parish population as a whole. Normally a response rate of around 10% is expected and accepted.
After considerable consultation with Leicestershire County Council, the PC resolved to work in partnership with them to not only physically upgrade the lights to more cost-effective LED’s, but to also undertake a long term maintenance contract with them to include a quicker response rate if the lights fail, and to a more cheaper energy tariff that carries significant cost savings.
To assist with traffic calming measures, the PC has also resolved to purchase 3 new speed cameras. Each will collect data that will be used as an evidence base to highlight the need for further speed watch facilities in the future. Again, we are in discussion with Leicestershire County Council as to the siting of the cameras. As the national speed limit exists in Shenton, the PC resolved to purchase an advisory camera which will display “Slow Down” to any careless motorists. The camera can be set to flash at whatever speed we select, again to be decided with LCC, and it is hoped that the data will be used to enforce a more realistic speed limit in the village.
So, how are these projects to be funded?
The Precept is the primary source of income for the Parish Council. This is the portion of your Council Tax that is paid directly to the Parish Council. Reacting to the mandate on the Residents’ Survey, the PC resolved to raise the Sutton Cheney Parish precept from £47.49 (2018-19) to £62.54 for a Band D property. This will appear on your council tax demand as a 31.7% increase in your parish precept, which translates to an increase of £1.51p on each of the 10 instalments. This figure still lies below the national average which for a Band “D” property is £64.05 (2018/19 figures).
Sutton Cheney Parish Council is also applying for external funding offered through Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and we are optimistic of obtaining the money. If successful, we will hopefully be awarded the full 50% of all capital costs. Both the streetlight upgrades and the purchase of the vehicle speed signs are eligible for this money and two applications have now been submitted, totalling a requested amount of £10,728.
Should we be unsuccessful in our bid for PIF funding, or not obtain the full amount, the PC is committed to implement both of the schemes preferably without further increases in the Precept and maybe over a longer period of time. Let us hope this will not be necessary.
It is hoped that the implementation of the above 2 schemes will impact to enhance the community space we live in and so fulfil to some degree the wishes of the community.
The outcome of the applications will not be announced until June 2019. We will keep you informed as soon as we know.
Thank you for taking the time to read this information and hope you find it helpful.
Should you have any queries, please contact either the Clerk or any of your Parish Councillors.