precepting

PYTCHLEY PARISH COUNCIL - PRECEPTING

Pytchley Parish Council receives a grant from Kettering Borough Council to meet its running costs (both the administration and towards local chosen initiatives). To supplement this the parish council have used reserves to support its current level of spending. The grant, already reduced, will now be removed for 2014/2015. 

 KBC are one of only a few authorities who give such grants all other rural areas raise a precept to cover their costs. However in these instances many higher authorities make other provisions to compensate. Wellingborough for example have a reduced rate for the rural areas. Prior to the decision to remove the grant a survey was conducted throughout the rural areas and of 25 rural areas surveyed replies were received from 23 with 21 expressing a desire to retain the grant. This is consistent with surveys conducted in 2007 and 2009. 

 When this item appeared on the KBC Executive committee agenda an urgent meeting was arranged with the Rural Forum and a proposal was made that prior to removal of the grant a working party be set up for all interested parties to investigate the options available. 

 The Executive committee on 7th November however chose to ignore the survey results and the proposal from the Rural Forum and voted to remove the grant system. It should be noted that as a number of councillors were also involved with the rural areas they had to declare an interest and withdraw from the meeting leaving only 4 town based councillors available to vote. 

 The decision of the executive committee was subsequently challenged and they were obliged to review this decision. However on 5th December again they supported the proposal and, as such, from next year our grant is planned to be removed with no other compensation meaning we will be paying more than the town with a poorer service. 

 In order just to run the parish council costs approximately £2500 (clerks wages - set by external guidelines, insurance, audit fees -compulsory, clerks expenses). Other important initiatives and expenses means a typical spend of in excess of £4000 all of which must be raised now by this village. The parish council is a legal entity not a privilege. Parish councillors receive no fees. If all councillors resigned a parish council would be imposed upon us by KBC nominating the representatives. It is therefore even more important that parish councillors are representative of village opinion and have the support of the village. We have resisted precepting for as long as possible but last year precepted £1000 to allow us to provide the basketball goal, the remainder coming from grants. No one within the town has had to make a contribution towards their playground equipment. Next year (2013/14) we will be precepting £1500 to meet predicted expenditure some of which would previously have been covered by the now reducing grant. 

 

We have always had the option of precepting, that is raising additional funds by the application of a local rate (paid for by the council tax payers of Pytchley for specific projects within Pytchley) and for information to raise £1000 means 10p per week for a band “D” property. We will continue to lobby directly and through the Rural Forum for a  fairer settlement. As a rural area we do not enjoy the same benefits as the town but will now be obliged to pay more.

PYTCHLEY PARISH COUNCIL - FOOTPATHS

As there has been some concern and misconceptions expressed in the village regarding the state of certain footpaths the following sets out the landowners responsibilities. 

  • A fieldedge/headland path may not be ploughed. 
  • A crossfield footpath or bridleway may be ploughed but must be reinstated within 14 days from the first agricultural operation. For 2nd and subsequent disturbances it must be reinstated within 24 hours. 
  • The path must be reinstated to not less than its minimum width and left reasonably convenient to walk on. 
  • Any crop other than grass must be prevented from encroaching on the path width. 
  • Minimum width for crossfield rights of way is 1m for a footpath and 2m for a bridleway. Minimum width for a headland right of way is 1.5m for a footpath and 3m for a bridleway. 
  • There is no requirement to make provision for dogs at styles.

 Footpath users also have responsibilities. Please keep all dogs under control, do not allow them to stray off the footpath, Clean up after your dog and dispose of the faeces responsibly. Take your litter home. Leave all gates as you found them some must be kept shut but others may have intentionally been left open. Do not make unnecessary noise and respect the countryside. With landowners and footpath users observing their responsibilities goodwill will continue to prevail.

Reprinted from Feb 2013 edition of 'Pytchley New' with kind permission.

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