Town Councillors forced to abandon review of precept decision

Bradley Stoke Town Council.

A special meeting of Bradley Stoke Town Council scheduled for this Wednesday (6th February) has been cancelled at short notice.

The meeting, which had been called by Town Mayor, Cllr Charlotte Walker, at the request of six Councillors, was to discuss a possible increase in the Town’s precept (the Town Council’s component of the Council Tax).

However, the Council has announced today that advice received from the National Association of Local Councils’ solicitor suggests that any decision to increase the precept, which Councillors had initially voted last month to freeze, would be illegal.

Confirming the cancellation, Cllr Walker said:

“Following legal clarification from the Town Clerk, acting in her capacity as council’s proper officer, we have taken the decision to stand down Wednesday’s special meeting of Full Council. In light of the advice received proceeding with the meeting would not be in the best interest of our residents.”

The original decision was taken at the Full Council meeting on 16th January, despite the Town Council’s Financial Officer recommending that a 3% increase be introduced for 2013/14.

The six Councillors who had called for a review of the decision to freeze the precept were: Cllrs Brian Hopkinson, Sarah Pomfret, Ben Walker, Paul Hardwick, Elaine Hardwick and Keith Cranney.

The special resolution that was to be debated at this Wednesday’s special meeting read:

“[We] wish to immediately revisit the decision made by BSTC on 16th January 2013 in relation to the Budget and Forward Plan, whereby we believe a zero increase in Precept would not deliver sufficient safeguard against the uncertain future of grant funding from South Gloucestershire Council.”

The Journal understands that, as the Town Council has already notified South Gloucestershire Council of its desired precept level for 2013/14, it is only possible to reduce it from that previously advised level.

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  1. This made me laugh. Surely it would have been smart to check the legal situation BEFORE calling the meeting… I know before I announce hugely controversial decisions, I do the groundwork first!

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