Pendle Council votes to increase council tax

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Disagreements broke out over Pendle Council’s West Craven Swimming pool at the borough’s recent budget setting meeting, which also saw the council increase its share of the council tax.

A majority of councillors from all parties voted for the Council Tax increase of 2.99% (£8.67 a year at Band D) for the borough council. The two independent councillors refused to support the increase.

The overall increase for both borough and county bodies is £101.66, the majority of which goes to Lancashire County Council. Parish and town council precepts of varying amounts are added to the Pendle-wide Council Tax amounts.

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Meanwhile, Labour and Liberal Democrat groups on the council refused to accept switching off the heating at the Barnoldswick pool and instead backed a Liberal Democrat proposal for a £2m. investment in essential repairs and energy conservation work across Pendle's three sport and leisure centres.

Nelson Town Hall. Photo: Kelvin StuttardNelson Town Hall. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Nelson Town Hall. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Deputy council leader, Liberal Democrat Coun. David Whipp, who put forward the successful proposal on the balanced authority, said the investment in the “deliberately neglected” leisure centres was a central plank of his group's budget.

Labour councillors backed the Liberal Democrat proposal and the two groups rejected the Conservative suggestions which Coun. Whipp described as ranging from “already underway, through ill-thought-out, to slash and burn and plain daft.”

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The council’s Conservative group wanted to bring in charges for bulky household waste collections, push £190,000 of spending onto parish and town councils, cut spending on local area committee projects, bring back a private ‘District Enforcement’ type company issuing fines and introduce cold water swimming at West Craven Pool.

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Coun. Whipp added: “The opposition group also wanted to reduce residents’ opportunities to hold councillors to account by moving to four-yearly, all out, elections, rather than annual voting as at present.”

The council heard that the £1.2m. deficit of the previous year had been turned around and that a small surplus was now projected for the current year. However, new waste transfer costs equivalent to half the council's net revenue budget threatened Pendle “falling off a financial cliff edge” unless Lancashire County Council relented on its plan to “shunt” costs onto the borough council.