Official Statement In Response To Questions From The Community
The Ivers Parish Council is aware that there is a serious amount of misinformation being presented as factual on social media closed community pages, which is then being communicated onward by word of mouth to residents and raising some concerns as to how public funds are being managed.
In order to allay concerns and in the interest of transparency, the FACTS are presented below, should you have any further questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact The Ivers Parish Council directly and we will be happy to assist. Please email Comms@iverparishcouncil.gov.uk
IS THE IVERS PARISH COUNCIL HOARDING £650,000 OF PUBLIC MONEY?
The breakdown of our spending (which was provided to all those attending the recent Annual Meeting of Electors), clearly shows that the Parish Council has £491,000 in its reserves which is allocated as shown in the attached pie charts distributed on the evening and posted on our website, www.iverparishcouncil.gov.uk. The Ivers Parish council does not have £650,000 in reserves. This figure, which is being bandied about as a fact on social media and in an independent leafleting campaign is wholly misleading.
IS THE IVERS PARISH COUNCIL INCREASING THE PRECEPT BY 9.5% TO PAY FOR THE POTENTIAL ACQUISITION OF THE POLICE SITE?
A proportion of the precept will be used to repay the loan if the acquisition of the Police Station Site goes ahead. The increase for The Ivers Parish Council is comparable with that of other parish councils across South Bucks which is on average 9.36%.
The increase in the precept is in part due to rationalisation of schedules and increases in team members for the in house Grounds Maintenance Team needed as the maintenance of the Burial Ground and Churchyard at St Peter’s has been taken back in-house.
The Council agreed with the request from the Department of Communities and Local Government that Parish Councils should communicate more extensively with residents, however no funding has been provided for it. This coupled with increasing demands on office resources means there is also the need to employ a Communications Officer. General inflationary pressures mean the costs of goods and services have increased particularly the street lighting provision.
WHAT ABOUT A BUSNESS PLAN?
Should the acquisition go ahead decisions about what will be done with the site is the subject of the current consultation. The responses we receive will provide the basis of a business plan.
WHY IS MY COUNCIL TAX SO HIGH?
The ‘tax base’ upon which SBDC calculate the council tax is a measure of the ‘taxable capacity of the parish’. It takes into account the number of exempt properties, anticipated growth in new properties, number of properties subject to discount and the estimated collection rate.
Iver’s ability to raise income via its element of the council tax is affected by the number of households receiving Council Tax Support in paying their council tax due to their circumstances. Iver has one of the highest proportions of households in receipt of Council Tax Support in the District.
WHY DO THE IVERS PARISH COUNCIL NEED TO PURCHASE OFFICE SPACE?
The Ivers Parish Council has leased the current premises (63 Chequers Orchard – the old police house) since 31st March 2008. Prior to this occupation, council administration was conducted from the police station itself from May 3rd 2000.
In common with all public agencies Thames Valley Police is looking to make large financial savings within its future budgets, and has indicated for some time that the future uses of the police station in Iver would be under scrutiny and has now decided that Iver will be closed and the site sold.
The lease was signed on a 10 year basis and expires on March 31st 2018. As the Police Station is closing the council will no longer be able to continue in its present location. The Ivers Parish Council has a reserve of £250,000 towards the potential purchase of new premises; we do not have £650,000 in reserves earmarked for premises.
Why not use The Evreham Centre?
The Evreham Centre is owned by Bucks County and it is not renting out long term office space.
Why not buy the Chequers Inn?
The building has a restriction in it that the front is only for use for retail purposes; the top floor is made up of private flats.
Why not use The Village Hall?
The Village Hall does not belong to The Ivers Parish Council neither does it have office space fitting our requirement for the future or long term lease.
The Ivers Parish Council has considered its future office requirements and its need to provide services to the community and has concluded that the purchase of the entire Police Station site would best fit its needs which include:
a) Certainty over the longer term office provision for the council services without the need to ‘uproot’ and pay for re-installation elsewhere
b) Potential to expand services given the current situation with regard to Unitary Councils in the area
c) Maintenance of a highly visible police presence in a building which the community already recognise as the place to go for TVP
d) Many possibilities with regard to the future use of the space as a community facility/hub.
WHY IS THE PROPOSED PURCHASE PRICE OF THE POLICE STATION SITE GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY?
The Ivers Parish Council had an assessment of the entire Police Station site carried out by the District Valuers Office. This was thorough in its evaluation of a variety of uses including the existing use, demolition and reconstruction/alternative use. The assessed land value formed the basis of the offer that The Ivers Parish Council made to Thames Valley Police (TVP). This included provision of a long term lease to be subsequently agreed with TVP for their office/touchdown point to remain on the site.
A benchmarking exercise of other similar properties for sale in the area has indicated that figures of up to £1.3m are being sought. This proposed purchase therefore represents good value for money for a community asset.
WHY NOT PAY OFF THE EXISTING LOAN ON THE JUBILEE PAVILION?
The Ivers Parish Council, having taken the advice of The Public Works Loan Board, reached the conclusion that there is no advantage in paying this loan off as there are substantial penalties involved in early repayment.
HIGHWAYS WORK – WHO IS LAWFULLY RESPONSIBLE?
Buckinghamshire County Council is the local Highways Authority. The Ivers Parish Council is precluded by law from carrying out ANY works on the public highways. Until 2016, Bucks County Council funded a fully qualified Highways Operative for The Ivers to attend to works such as cleaning road signs, dealing with fly tipping and cutting back vision splays. Bucks County Council then took the decision to bring the work back ‘in-house’ and refused our request to employ the operative directly at our own expense. Consequently all this work now has to be actioned via a request to Transport for Bucks. Reporting of potholes or footpath defects should also be reported to Transport for Bucks.
Telephone: 0845 230 2882
LITTER COLLECTION/DOG BINS
Litter collection and emptying of dog bins is the responsibility of South Bucks District Council. Any issues can be reported via their online system at www.southbucks.gov.uk, via email
firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01895 837200