Next Tuesday 28th we have a meeting of Full Council to deal with the council budget. You can find the documents here.
The most important item is probably to increase car parking charges – and end free parking on Saturday afternoons. The proposals are:
30 minutes parking – increase from 40p to 50p
1 hour parking – increase from 80p to £1.00
2 hours – increase from £1.40 to £1.70
3 hours – increase from £2.00 to £2.40
4 hours – increase from £2.40 to £2.90
5 hours – increase from £3.00 to £3.60
Daily – no change, still £5.00
“In order to encourage the turnover of parking and make available more spaces for visitors to the town centres , it is proposed to introduce Saturday afternoon charging”.
It is estimated that this would increase income from car parking by about £180,000 per year.
Now the aim behind those who want to increase the charges is to use the money for flood prevention. To quote from the report at length (page 3.28):
10.6 During the last 6 months, the District, like other parts of the country, has experienced severe flooding which has directly affected residents, with 34 properties still uninhabitable because of flood damage last August.
10.7 A meeting is being arranged with Essex County Council, the Environment Agency and Anglian Water to consider the arrangements for setting up a Rochford Flood Committee (RFC).
10.8 There is no intention to relieve Essex County Council of their responsibilities as the lead local flood authority (LLFA).
10.9 The RFC would, in conjunction with the county, work on the implementation of the Rochford elements of the South Essex Surface Water Management Plan. The RFC will play a key part in determining expenditure on flood alleviation schemes, both larger schemes requiring investment from multiple sources, including grants from relevant bodies, but also smaller schemes that may be funded directly from Rochford’s sewers and drainage budget or under the Capital Programme.
10.10 The sewers and drainage budget currently sits under Public Health. The budget was originally established to carry out drainage maintenance work to properties over a certain age where the system served more than one property. In recent years, Anglian Water have taken responsibility for household drainage up to the boundary of the property and the budget has recently been used for small drainage works on the Council’s property. Larger drainage works are done under the Capital Programme. Some of the underspend on the budget has been set aside in the Repairs and Maintenance Reserve with £18,000 available. For this reason, a new budget for 2013/14 was not required and was taken out when the Revised Estimates were presented to December’s Council. No budget is planned for 2014/15, as the £18,000 is still available, and provides an opportunity to implement several small, but essential, flood alleviation schemes as identified by the RFC.
10.11 If Members agree the principle of a Rochford Flood Committee, the working arrangements (i.e. a full committee, sub committee or working group/forum, or advisory group reporting into the Executive) and the terms of reference will be prepared and reported to Council on 25 February 2014, taking account of the principles outlined above.
Note : The County Council have a budget for flood prevention in the County, one main source of funding is £598,800 per year by central government.
Now, we would very much like to hear your view on this before Tuesday, before we vote.
For example :
Are you not bothered about increasing car park charges and paying on Saturday afternoons – or are you horrified?
Do you think that increasing car parking charges to pay for flood prevention is a necessary evil – or should we insist on the County and developers paying for this?
Do you simply need more information, and think that the council should provide more details before coming to a decision?
Let us know!