Village projects hike up parish precept

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What the money is for

UPTON residents face an 84 per cent increase in the amount they pay towards local services as the precept for the area is raised by £87,481.

The precept for the next financial year, which begins in April, was set at £191,381 by Upton and North Elmsall Parish Council last week in an attempt to regenerate the villages.

The extra cash will pay for:

l The transfer of Upton library from Wakefield Council;

l Extensive work to Harewood Lane and School Street allotments;

lCreation of memorial garden in memory of Rifleman Luke Farmer;

lMore hanging baskets, planter boxes, and spring bulbs throughout the parish;

l Christmas tree and lights for North Elmsall;

l Development of the natural spring, known as the Spout Hole, between Upton and Thorpe Audlin.

Parish council chairman Coun Shaun Hodson, of Upton, said the increase was necessary.

He said: “We need to regenerate the area. It’s vital. People have said to us the area needs a facelift, and it does, and the only way to achieve that is through capital expenditure. And this is an opportunity to deliver these projects over the next 12 months. We have got to do it.”

Residents in a Band A home will pay £1 a week, compared with 54p last year, and those in a Band D home will pay £1.52 a week, compared with 83p last year.

He said in comparison with neighbouring South Elmsall the parish had a higher population – 1,527 people, according to the 2001 census, and yet the precept was £35,659 less.

Coun Hodson said this put the increase into perspective.

“We have had eight new councillors on the council since last May and that has been the catalyst for these projects, they wanted to get involved. They weren’t prepared to stick with the same old formula and it’s our responsibility to deliver to the community. We have got the opportunity to transform the area and want to do it wholeheartedly.”

He said one of the main projects would be a memorial to Rifleman Luke Farmer who was killed in Afghanistan two years ago.

He said: “It is important we do it properly, we have got to show our respect.

“In normal everyday life you can’t do anything without money and in this day and age we are looking to improve the environment.”