Town Council Precept Rises as Responsibilities Increase

FOLLOWING a tumultuous year for Colne Town Council, all but one councillor voted to increase the Precept by 17% this year. The dissenting voice in the Chamber was Cllr. Joe Cooney.

The total amount raised by the Council’s Precept has risen to £380,532. This equates to £56.93 per year for a Band A property or £85.39 for a Band D.

Colin Hill, Clerk and CEO to Colne Town Council, commented: “Just over £1 a week for a typical Colne terraced house represents fantastic value, but we are no longer expecting the Precept to make up the vast majority of our income. As we take over more and more services in the town, we intend to make up increasing levels of our income from sales, rents and sponsorship. The Blues is a typical example – although we are not expecting our new format to be cash generative in its first year, we are hopeful this will be the case in future years.”

The Town Council is now responsible for the Christmas Lights, numerous events throughout the year, the benches, almost all the bus shelters, the playgrounds not in parks, Primet Community Centre, the MUGAs, the allotments, part of the maintenance for Alkincoats Park and the new CCTV system, which is poised to go live. The Council is in advanced talks to take over the Town Hall and its Annexe and has already put in a Heritage Lottery Fund bid to help find a sustainable and resilient future for the Grade II listed building, which was designed by Sir Alfred Waterhouse.

It is also in scoping talks with Pendle Borough Council to take over the Cemetery, Alkincoats Park, The Muni and The Market.

Colne Town Council Chairman, Cllr. Sarah Cockburn-Price, said: “Pendle Borough Council is focussing on its statutory responsibilities, like Waste and Planning. We have a choice, we can let Pendle close much loved Colne services and institutions, or we can attempt to pick up the baton. The 17 volunteer councillors have not so far stepped back from a single thing, no matter how daunting, despite just having three members of staff to deliver a dizzying array of diverse services. Some people have said to me, “But I don’t have an allotment, or I don’t attend your events”, and that’s true, but every resident in the town would have been adversely affected if we hadn’t made the decision to shoulder the burden and carry on delivering these services. Our abiding principle is to be as efficient and commercial in our approach as we can possibly be.”