Review of 2008/09

A Personal View from the Chair

Floods gone away, taxes down, well, Cropthorne Parish Council leads the way at a 90% reduction for next year. Your taxes pay for playground maintenance, Sheppey mowing, new goal posts for the Junior Football, plus the reserves for promises towards repairing the Church Wall and refurbishing the Village Hall. The other half of the tax burden goes on administration. There's a bit of other stuff, like the Lengthsman and the Parish Plan, paid for by grants. All in, a spend of £5,000 per annum.

Are we worth it for our planning comments, capital project seed-corn distributions and acting as conduit for parishioners through to the really dangerous branches of government every crisis or flood? Comments welcome!

The witches brew of "Affordable Housing" aka "Social Housing" or "Council Housing" depending which decade we're in continues to simmer. The powers that be bureaucrats accused your Parish Council of being uncooperative(!) and imposed a "housing needs" survey apon us, despite our doing one at the same time via the Parish Plan and in the spirit of joined up government. Bureaucrats say we need fourteen housing units, we say more like four, some say people should stand on their own two feet, and housing is becoming rapidly affordable anyway, and the foreign workers took one look at the Zloty/Sterling exchange rate and disappeared almost as fast as they appeared in the first place, but, in the absence of any statistics, please don't expect the bureaucrats to notice.

Meanwhile, planners, enablers, under-planners, under-enabler assistants and some Parish Councillors will "walk" the village looking for suitable sites to build the fourteen, or is it four, housing units. They get to build outside the development boundary so some lucky landowner stands to make a killing. Is there the infrastructure? Is this the thin end of the wedge? Will locals benefit? What is a 'housing need'?

Come find out and say your piece on Monday 6th April, Annual Parish Meeting, Village Hall, 7:30pm. We hope to have a few bureaucrats there plus others further down the Social Housing development road. Cropthorne will then decide whether it wants to support or oppose Social Housing Development in the village, it's no forgone conclusion either way, but do nothing and it will happen for sure. Looking forward to seeing you on the 6th April.

Chris Whittington.
Chair, Cropthorne Parish Council

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