Stotfold Town Council reject request for ‘goodwill grant’

A TOWN council has refused to dip into its reserves to help establish a new parish council.

Stotfold town councillors rejected a request to transfer a proportion of the town council’s cash to the fledgling Fairfield Parish Council, at a meeting on Wednesday.

Cllr Geoff Smith had asked for a ‘goodwill grant’ of around �90,000 stating, while Stotfold Town Council did not have a statutory obligation, there was a strong precedent for the transfer of reserves, as Fairfield Park residents contributed to Stotfold Town Council over the years.

Chairman of Stotfold Town Council, Brian Collier said: “As a consequence of the Central Beds Council decision to form a new parish council for Fairfield, we will lose the council tax income from the residential properties there.

“If the town council keeps to a standstill budget and raising the same precept figure as this year, it would lead to an increase in council tax of 38 per cent for the remainder of Stotfold.”

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More than 12 months ago campaign group, Action for Fairfield Community asked residents to sign a petition calling for the setting up of their own parish council.

The campaigners were spurred into action when it was discovered Fairfield residents contribute about �100,000 in taxation to Stotfold Town Council, which equates to a third of the body’s budget.

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Chairman of the action group, Barrie Dack said: “Since Fairfield Park was occupied in 2002 the residence will have contributed in excess of �500,000 and apart from a small grant of �16,000 from Stotfold Town Council for the community hall they have received nothing in return.

“We think there is a very strong obligation, and the fact Stotfold residents may see a rise in their precept, while regrettable, highlights the precept that Fairfield Park residents made over the years.”

The action group drew up a budget of �92,525 for the first year and will incur a cost of a parish clerk as well as meeting room hire costs.

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