Archive for the ‘Local Government’ Category

South Glos council tax to rise by 3.99 percent

Posted on Wednesday 18th March 2020 at 11:58 pm by SH (Editor)

South Gloucestershire Council.

South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) element of the council tax levied on local households is to increase by 3.99 percent from April.

The latest rise follows uplifts of 2.99 percent in 2019/20 and 5.99 percent in 2018/19, the latter including a ring-fenced levy of 3 percent to support
adult social care.

The 2020/21 increase once again includes a social care levy, this time 2 percent, which is the maximum allowed by the government for the upcoming financial year.

The increase means that the South Gloucestershire Council element of council tax for a Band D property for 2020/21 will rise to £1,543.

Meeting on 12th February, councillors agreed to set a revenue budget of almost £232 million. The spending plans also include a further £219.2 million that will be distributed to schools.

The council’s forward planning shows that its budget is projected to remain in balance for the next two years, based on what is known so far about the future of local authority funding. However, this assumes successful delivery of ongoing savings and transformation plans and requires the use of reserves.

Challenges ahead

The medium term – years two and three in the projections in these budget papers – continues to contain challenges in order to balance the books. These are caused by continued falls in government grants and increased costs and demand for services, most notably across social care services.

Work is ongoing to manage demand for costly social care support by investing to make earlier interventions where residents find themselves in need of help, as well as to build extra capacity to deliver services within the district.

More: Police precept increased by 4.59 percent »

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By-election set to see around 6,700 voters called to the polls in Bradley Stoke South

Posted on Wednesday 4th March 2020 at 3:54 pm by SH (Editor)

Bradley Stoke Town Council.

A by-election to fill a vacant seat representing the South ward on Bradley Stoke Town Council looks almost certain to take place in the last week of March.

The vacancy arose after Nikki Hallur, a Conservative councillor elected just eight months ago in the May 2019 poll, handed in her resignation in mid-January, citing “personal reasons”.

A notice of election to fill the vacancy was published on 20th February and a poll will take place on Thursday 26th March, subject to more than one valid nomination being received.

The Journal understands that at least two separate groups submitted the necessary number of ten local elector signatures in order to force a by-election.

Had a by-election not been requested, the vacancy would have been filled by ‘co-option’, a procedure which effectively involves the remaining 14 council members appointing someone of their own liking.

As we went to press, two of the minority parties on the Conservative-led council, Labour and the Citizens Movement Party UK, had already announced their intention to field candidates.

The by-election will see around 6,700 residents called to vote, many more than in previous town council by-elections due to a decision by the Boundary Commission to reduce the number of wards in Bradley Stoke ahead of the May 2019 poll.

Following the recent resignation, the make-up of the town council is 11 Conservative, 1 Labour, 1 Citizens Movement Party UK and 1 independent, so the result of the by-election will not affect overall control of the council.

The cost of staging the by-election, which will fall on the town council, has been estimated by Cllr John Ashe to be in the region of £7,000 to £8,000.

In the May 2019 poll, when all South Gloucestershire and town or parish council seats were up for grabs, turnout in the Bradley Stoke South ward (represented by seven seats on the town council) was just 26 percent. Turnout for a single-seat by-election is likely to be lower.

The Conservatives won all seven seats in the ward on that occasion, attracting 63.9 percent of the total votes cast, with Labour Party candidates on  21.9 percent and independents 14.2 percent.

More: Voters will also be called to the polls just six weeks later »

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Councillor’s resignation could trigger costly by-election

Posted on Monday 3rd February 2020 at 6:40 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Nikki Hallur.

The resignation of a Conservative councillor on Bradley Stoke Town Council just eight months into a four-year term of office could lead to a costly by-election.

Nikki Hallur, who won one of the seven seats representing the Bradley Stoke South ward in the May 2019 election, handed in her notice of resignation in the second week of January, citing “personal reasons and work commitments”. A ‘Casual Vacancy for a Councillor’ notice has subsequently appeared on the town council’s noticeboards and website.

According to the notice, an election will be held to fill the vacancy should ten electors (residents) living in the ward request one by 5th February.

If no request for an election is received by that date, the town council will fill the vacancy by ‘co-option’, a procedure which effectively involves the remaining 14 council members appointing someone of their own liking.

Speaking at the January meeting of Full Council, where the resignation was formally announced, mayor Tom Aditya (Conservative) asked members to be “mindful” of the financial cost of a by-election, which would fall on the town council.

The mayor’s comments were presumably directed at the three non-Conservative members of council, who might be expected to consider forcing a by-election in the hope of increasing their respective group’s representation.

Following the recent resignation, the make-up of the council is 11 Conservative, 1 Labour, 1 Citizens Movement Party UK and 1 independent, so a by-election for a single seat would not affect the balance of power.

Five (single ward) by-elections were contested in Bradley Stoke between 2008 and 2013, but there have been none since.

Also speaking at the Full Council meeting, Cllr John Ashe (Conservative) warned of the likely increased cost of a by-election after the Boundary Commission reduced the number of wards in the town to three (from seven previously), ahead of the May 2019 elections. This would be a consequence of having a much larger electorate in the ward.

Cllr Ashe said that, from memory, the last by-election in Bradley Stoke had cost the town council around £4,500. He estimated that, with the larger ward size, it might be in the region of £7,000 to £8,000.

More: Council maintains contingency fund for by-election costs »

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All change for local elections on 2nd May

Posted on Wednesday 3rd April 2019 at 7:44 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a teller outside the Brook Way Activity Centre in Bradley Stoke.

Residents across the Stokes will be called on to elect representatives to both South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) and their respective parish council in local elections which take place on Thursday 2nd May.

A decision to reduce the number of seats on SGC from 70 to 61 means that there have been significant changes to ward boundaries across the district, so some voters may find themselves in a different ward or being asked to elect a different number of representatives compared to the last across-the-board local elections held in 2015.

Bradley Stoke

Bradley Stoke parish (town) previously elected five SGC members, two each for the wards of Bradley Stoke South and Bradley Stoke Central & Stoke Lodge and one for the Bradley Stoke North ward. For 2019, there are just two wards, Bradley Stoke South and Bradley Stoke North (the latter incorporating Stoke Lodge), each represented by two members.

In order to balance the numbers of electors in the district wards, some properties in the extreme south of Bradley Stoke parish have historically been allocated to the Stoke Gifford district ward and the boundary changes for 2019 have seen more properties fall into this area of overlap.

No changes have been made to the Bradley Stoke (or any other) parish/town boundary, but the number of parish wards in Bradley Stoke has been reduced from the present seven to just three, named North, South and Stoke Brook, electing six, seven and two members respectively to the town council.

The Stoke Brook parish ward of Bradley Stoke corresponds to the part of the town which falls within the Stoke Gifford district ward.

More: Stoke Gifford and Little Stoke | Election timetable »

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Ocean Estate Agents, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.
Oasis Driving School, Bristol.
Bradley Stoke Journal 6 & 11-year anniversary (2019).