Letchworth Garden City Council give residents early Christmas box with zero precept

LETCHWORTH Garden City Council (LGCC) will not cost residents a penny next year and their offices will close by the end of December. Councillors decided last night to set a precept of zero as they begin to run down council activities. This contrasts with

LETCHWORTH Garden City Council (LGCC) will not cost residents a penny next year and their offices will close by the end of December.

Councillors decided last night to set a precept of zero as they begin to run down council activities. This contrasts with the more than half a million pounds charged by the old administration last year, and �600k the year before.

But one opposition councillor says the �260,000 being held in the bank by LGCC should be given back to residents.

"This means no charge to the taxpayers of Letchworth for the council," said LGCTC chairman Cllr George Ritchie.


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"I am sure that the residents of Letchworth will regard this announcement as a very welcome pre-Christmas gift."

But Cllr Sue Johnson, one of only two opposition councillors, was angry when her proposal to give the �260,000 back to Letchworth residents was kicked out.

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"I told councillors they should give this money back and they refused. They always planned to be a non-spending council but they are using this money so it is easy to set a zero precept," said Mrs Johnson. "The councillors have been elected by the people of Letchworth to represent them and they are not doing that."

Responding to the appeal by Cllr Johnson to hand back cash to Letchworth residents Cllr Ritchie said: "The simple answer is that at this stage we are only part of the way through the journey, and so at this stage it would be premature to be thinking about something like that. That is not to say that we won't be keeping the situation under review as we move forward."

Cllr Ritchie also confirmed the council will be closing its office in Leys Avenue, Letchworth GC, before the end of the year. Cllr Ritchie added: "It will be far more economic, going forward, for the council to hire meeting rooms as and when required, rather than continuing to rent the two large offices in the centre of the shopping area."

He also thanked the council staff for the positive and professional way that they had engaged with councillors which has enabled the council to move forward with all aspects of the delivery of its mandate in a really constructive manner.

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