More services but precept in Chapel St Leonards to be ‘slashed’

Coun  Paul Hibbert-Greaves - Vice Chairmanand Coun Mel Turton-leivers Chairman, celebrating the 13.69 per cent cut in the precept. ANL-190118-133226001
Coun Paul Hibbert-Greaves - Vice Chairmanand Coun Mel Turton-leivers Chairman, celebrating the 13.69 per cent cut in the precept. ANL-190118-133226001

Chapel St Leonards residents and visitors can expect better services - but it isn’t going to cost them a penny more.

While other parish councils are setting their precept rises, Chapel have managed to slash their’s - by a staggering 13.69 per cent.

We are only a small village, but in the summer have 40,000 visitors. We do not get any revenue from them, but we have managed to improve services and cut the precept.

Vice-chairman Coun Paul Hibbert-Greaves

It’s a massive turnaround for a parish council that has had its fair share of challenges.

Two years ago, residents were calling to “vote them all out” after a precept rise of 41.54 per cent, resulting from a £15,000 claim made against the council by the former clerk Michael Green after his resignation.

Since then, the council has pulled together and, according to vice-chairman Coun Paul Hibbert-Greaves, Chapel St Leonards is “a village on the move.

“Everyone know this has not always been the case,” said Coun Hibbert-Greaves. “But with some prudent book-keeping we’ve been able to not only improve services, but also slash the precept by a massive 13.89 per cent.

“Much of the credit for this has to go to our town clerk, Christine Newton, but we have all worked together on this.”

According to Coun Hibbert-Greaves, the cut in the precept has been achieved by capitalising on their assets - including imposing “nominal fees” at the four blocks of toilets in the village and the car park at the North Sea Observatory.

There are plans to have more handymen in the village to keep it clean and tidy, an increase in the number of times they cut the grass from four to five, and more rubbish bins.

The former cafe in the North Sea Observatory car park is also to become a community hub, which will be accessible for meetings as well as the new home of the council.

“We are extremely proud of what has been achieved,” said Coun Hibbert-Greaves. “We are only a small village, but in the summer have 40,000 visitors. We do not get any revenue from them, but we have managed to improve services and cut the precept.

“We are making our own destiny - no-one is going to help you, if you don’t help yourselves.”

l Skegness Town Council has set its precept rise at 4.75 per cent, which is the capped amount set last year as part of its four-year financial plan.

The existing business plan covers anticipated borrowing costs for the demolition of the Tower Pavilion, and the construction of a Community Building in its place.

Burgh le Marsh has set one of the lowest precepts at 4 per cent - while still managing to maintain the extra responsibility of grass cutting.