CHAIRMAN’S REPORT – SEPTEMBER 2017
TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY?
THAT IS THE QUESTION!
Peter Yates, at the end of August, wrote a Reader’s Letter for Wilmslow.co.uk suggesting that: “Someone has got their priorities wrong”. He got a lot of responses. But first let me both summarise what he didn’t but probably should have said and that is that Wilmslow Town Council does not have the responsibility for mending pot holes. I must also declare a personal interest in that Peter is not the only one suffering from back problems!
Other suggestions were that the roundabouts along the A34 be better maintained and the grass cut more than once a year. Mark Russell, whilst being “no expert in local politics” said that WTC should “surely……….be making representations to the people concerned…”. Helen Hayes, loves flowers but commented on the lovely wild flowers on the Princess Parkway into and out of Manchester. She also enquired whether Wilmslow Town Council could donate money to Cheshire East to facilitate grid drainage particularly along Altrincham Road.
Some interesting suggestions here, some from people who would appear not to appreciate local government funding. Shall we start with double taxation? If you and I pay Cheshire East by the means of our Council Tax payments to undertake a service or responsibility, then why should we pay for it again by a contribution from our precept? Let me put this another way: if services are being cut because of funding issues, it is likely to be because you and I are not prepared to see large increases in our Council Tax.
So, let me tell you what this Council has been doing. One year before Peter Yates wrote his letter, I had a meeting with the Leader of Cheshire East, when we discussed, amongst other things, the A34 roundabouts. These roundabouts are the responsibility of Cheshire East Highways, not us. To maintain these (and the verges) requires road lane closures for safety reasons. Given the existing problems we have with road works in the Wilmslow Area I suggest that we do not wish to see many such closures. The suggestion I put to the Leader was that these roundabouts should be low or no maintenance or sown with wild flowers. I pointed out too that much damage to these roundabouts happens because of the actions of motorists who sometimes prefer to drive straight over them rather than go around them. What I said that we, WTC, may consider is enhancing the service provided by Cheshire East by working with them to improve the service. Enhancing services is not double taxation. The same goes for grid drainage and I should like some specific examples please. Providing Cheshire East has undertaken the frequency of such clearing, then we could enter discussions with them to enhance the service. But let us not kid ourselves. Enhancing services will cost money and if WTC do not have the reserves to fund it, the only option is to increase the precept, potentially substantially.
Perhaps, maybe, then someone will write to Wilmslow.co.uk to comment: “Someone got their priorities wrong.”