Get ready for great new year giveaway
THE DISTRICT council is preparing a New Year’s ‘sale’ of assets and services across East Hampshire.
And East Hampshire District Council leader Ken Moon has warned that unless the district’s town and parish councils and other community groups step in to run some services and facilities, they may disappear.
He said: “We will continue to provide services we are required to, but we have asked if local councils are interested in taking over other assets and services.”
Those thought to be in the shop window include some car parks, cemeteries, public toilets, play areas, open spaces, and some aspects of road maintnenance.
And as a sweetener to try and get councils and groups to take them on they could go for a nominal fee or come with a dowry.
Increasing the pressure to shed them and non statutory services was the Christmas announcement that government money given to EHDC would only increase by 1.6 per cent next year, leaving it worse off in real terms.
A district council spokesman said: “The underlying settlement has decreased by about 2.5 per cent.
“The council faces increasing cost pressures because of inflation and growing demand for services which significantly exceed the government increase.”
EHDC can’t raise council tax enough to continue funding some facilities and services as there is a ceiling on increases.
Petersfield Town Council clerk Neil Hitch said: “We might be interested in taking over less used ones which may fall into disrepair and have to be closed, if the town centre car parks, and The Square and its market, were included in the deal.”
It’s thought car park profit could support other assets, reducing the burden on residents.
Whitehill Mayor Tony Muldoon said discussions would be needed before any potential deal was considered. Horndean and Clanfield parish councils have already taken on some minor services, such as paying for dog waste bins to be emptied, and East Meon Parish Council is considering adopting Workhouse Lane car park.
It’s expected other councils will show an interest in case the offer becomes an uncomfortable ultimatum – pay for it or lose it.
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Weather for Petersfield
Saturday 07 December 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West