The precept is the Council Tax that Stroud District Council collects on behalf of the Town Council. It is calculated as part of the Town Council’s budget, it fills the gap between the Town Council’s planned expenditure and its estimated income. The Town Council does not receive any direct funding from central government, or a subsidy from Stroud District Council, and therefore the precept is a hugely important part of the Town Council’s income.
This year there was an increase on the precept for 2022/23 which, for a Band D rated property is 80p per week. The Town Council had to make provision for the forecast increase in inflation, fuel costs, and the significant cost increases of materials and contractors. The Town Council used some of its reserves to keep the precept to a minimum, however, the Town Council does not have large reserves like some Councils and it has to keep some reserves to deal with emergencies, and to build reserves for future community projects. Unlike some other Councils, the Town Council does not have major housing developments in the town, and therefore there is no offsetting of the council tax resulting from those developments.
The Town Council is classed as a large Council due to the number of buildings and open spaces it manages.These have to be maintained to a standard to ensure their safe use by the public and staff, to protect these valuable assets, and to ensure that more expensive costs are not stored up for the future.
The assets the Town Councils manages include:
Allotment sites at New Road and Knapp Road – the paths and boundaries need some major works which, in consultation with tenants, will be carried out in 2022/23
Cemetery and churchyards – a health and safety memorials audit has actioned a large amount of work to be carried out; the trees, hedges, and fencing need ongoing maintenance; the grass requires regular mowing
Civic Centre car park – the boundary fence is to be replaced, and the boundary walls repaired. The site is monitored for abandoned vehicles which the Town Council has to deal with.
Symn Lane play area – annually inspected by Health & Safety specialists, play area checks carried out by staff daily. The play equipment is getting old and needs more repairs and replacement. The grass requires regular mowing and litter removed. Anti-social behaviour is a problem and is monitored and managed in conjunction with the Police and other organisations.
Open Spaces including Holywell Leaze picnic area, Marchesi and Streamside Walk, Conygre Woods, Wotton Hill Clump are all maintained and managed as part of Management Plans. The grass requires regularly mowing, litter and obstructions removed, and damages repaired. Streamsfield is managed on behalf of the Recreational Trust. The stream is monitored for sewerage outflows and for other pollution, blockages, and litter removal to ensure the protection of the White Clawed Crayfish and other protected wildlife.
Various flower beds, planters, and borders require maintenance including planting, watering, mowing, litter removal.
Winter maintenance including ordering grit and salt for bins, snow clearance, and salt spreading. Flood warden duties.
Trees on Town Council land are regularly surveyed, the next full survey is in 2022/23, and the trees managed and maintained including damage resulting from storms.
CCTV system requires regular updating to ensure it can be used as evidence in court and insurance cases. The Town Council works closely with the Police.
Repair and maintenance, and replacement where necessary, of benches, noticeboards, bus shelters, defibrillators, and the Tolsey Clock.
The Town Council manages and maintains the following buildings:
Town Hall (Grade II listed) on behalf of the Town Trust – extensive works to be carried out in 2022/23. Delays have been caused by the Planning process and the sudden death of the Council’s Project Manager resulting in the Council having to go through the Executors to retrieve the files before putting the works out to tender.
Chipping Hall (Grade II listed), Heritage Centre, Youth Centre, Chipping Club Room on behalf of the Town Trust – building surveys to be carried out, regular maintenance and repairs, some of which required subsidy from the Town Council.
Civic Centre and Workshop – building surveys to be carried out, regular repairs and maintenance.
Swimming Pool – grant of £28,000pa for maintenance
Symn Lane Car Park – being completed in 2022/23 – 80 cars and 2 coach spaces. Installing EV Chargers, CCTV, and lighting. The car park will not be pay and display and will be free to use.
Old Town Toilets – delays due to the Planning process and receiving owed funds. To be demolished and rebuilt in 2022/23
Town Council van, equipment, machinery – to be maintained, repaired, and replaced as required
Christmas tree – provision, installation, and lighting, at the Tabernacle
- annual grant to Heritage Centre to cover running costs;
- contribution towards the hanging baskets to Wotton in Bloom;
- contribution towards the Christmas trees to the Wotton Lions;
- free use of Council facilities for fundraising by local community groups. Council staff look after the hire of the buildings on behalf on the Town Council and the Town Trust which includes the hire of the Town Hall for community groups running Town Hall Teas which have the use of the Town Hall for free, so running costs, for example energy, cleaning etc, are already paid for therefore the organisations can keep all funds/donations taken;
- Contribution towards Wotton Library
- Citizen Advice Bureau – free use of a dedicated office and telephone in the Civic Centre for holding one to one advice in Wotton
Grant applications agreed for:
- Synwell Playing Field Association – maintenance costs
- Wotton Area Climate Action Network – running costs, increasing biodiversity, support of the Climate Change Action Plan
- Wotton Community Sports Foundation – contribution to Sensory Garden shed
- Air Ambulance – contribution to service for the area
- Cobalt – contribution equipment and to service for the area
Administration and delivery of services of the Town Council – the demands on the Town Council from central government, County and District Councils, and the public, has significantly increased. An independent staff review was carried out which found the staff were under paid and the Council was under-resourced. The Council recognised this and has actioned its employment duty requirements. The Council has also had to take on staff under TUPE legislation. A review of the IT has resulted in an upgrade and an increase in cyber-security as required. Annual health and safety inspections implemented and actions taken to ensure public and staff safety.
Youth Service contract – the Town Council has a 3 year contract with a youth service provider for outreach and detached services, to run the Youth Club, and to work closely with other organisations including schools and the Police. The contract is to be reviewed and put out to tender in 2022/23.
Climate Change Action Plan – the Council is working through the actions to include EV Chargers, decarbonisation of its buildings, developing a Biodiversity Action Plan for Wotton under Edge.
Town Regeneration – regular town meetings are held, actions include improving the town, developing the visitor economy to support businesses, holding events such as Christmas, Jubilee, Remembrance Parade; development of a Town Community Plan.
The Town Council is not responsible for the public highways or approving planning permission, but the Council continues to report and to lobby Gloucestershire County Council and Stroud District Council on matters that are important to the community.
There is a Town Meeting on Monday May 9th 2022 at 7pm in the Civic Centre to which all residents are invited and can take the opportunity to meet your councillors and discuss any issues or queries you may have.