Saffron Walden residents may face £100 hike in council tax

Saffron Walden Town Hall

Saffron Walden Town Hall - Credit: Archant

Households in Saffron Walden could face annual increases of more than £100 in their council tax if budget proposals by the town council are approved tonight (December 10).

Town councillors will meet at the town hall at 7.30pm to discuss the proposed town council budget for 2016/17, which has increased by more than a million pounds from last year and residents may have to foot the bill.

For an Band D equivalent property, the town council’s portion of council tax is set to rise from £134.72 to £223.57 per year under the proposals, an increase of more than 65 per cent.

Planned refurbishments to the town hall will make up the majority of the expenditure, with nearly £700,000 set to be spent on improvements to the Market Square building.

The town council’s total expenditure budget last year was £1,270,498, and that has risen to £2,281,002 for 2016/17, with the precept rising from £803,266 to £1,341,442.

Councillor Heather Asker said: “I don’t think I can discuss it in detail until we have sat down, but I would say that we must be mindful about all the services and assets that the town have been asked to take on by Uttlesford District Council (UDC). UDC is asking more of the town council and I am conscious that it will have to be covered. It is important to remember that these are only proposals, however, and they will be discussed at the meeting.”

Councillor Sam Goddard said: “Even though they are only proposals, it is still a shocking hike. This would clearly be very unwelcome news for residents just before Christmas.

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“This is certainly not all to cover additional responsibilities, in fact they (RFU) are proposing to significantly increase spending on nearly everything the town council does. As a conservative group, none of us have been consulted or involved in any way in the creation of this proposal, it is an RFU budget.

Councillor Keith Eden said: “It is an unprecedented rise. Increases of around £100 per year in council tax for people in Saffron Walden is not what residents want to hear.”

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