Posts Tagged ‘Conservative Group on SGC’

“Raid” on village’s transport funds put on hold

Posted on Sunday 11th November 2012 at 4:04 pm by SH (Editor)

The Conservatives.

Plans to “raid” a village’s transport funds to spend in another part of South Gloucestershire have been put on hold.

A report that went to last Monday’s (5th November) meeting of South Gloucestershire Council’s Policy and Resources Committee meeting had recommended that £420,000 paid to the council by the developers of Hortham Village in Almondsbury parish should be spent on other transport schemes (specifically to cover an overspend on the Cheswick Bus Link in Stoke Gifford).

A Wessex Red no. 19 bus passes along the newly-opened Cheswick Bus Link.

But, following an appeal at the meeting from Almondsbury Conservative Councillor Sheila Cook, councillors on the committee agreed to put the decision on hold and for further information to be gathered.

Cllr Cook argued that a decision to divert Hortham Village’s transport funds was being made before a ‘bus priority corridor study’ had been completed into whether these funds are required to improve public transport infrastructure along the A38 between Hortham Village and the M5 motorway.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Cook (Con, Almondsbury) welcomed the committee’s decision:

“I welcome the committee’s decision to agree to put this decision on hold.”

“It beggars belief that raiding Hortham Village’s transport funding and spending it miles away in another part of the district was being seriously considered before the study has been completed on whether these funds should be spent to improve the A38 to benefit Hortham Village residents.”

She added:

“I look forward to the study being completed as soon as practically possible – £420,000 is a tremendous amount of money which has the potential to transform public transport infrastructure along the A38.”

Photo: A Wessex Red no. 19 bus passes along the newly-opened Cheswick Bus Link. [Photo: © Stoke Gifford Journal]

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council


Itemised Council Tax statements could be on the way

Posted on Wednesday 17th October 2012 at 9:01 pm by SH (Editor)

The Conservatives.

Council Tax bills could be itemised in South Gloucestershire as part of fresh efforts to show taxpayers where their money goes, say local Conservatives.

This year South Gloucestershire Council charged the average Band D household £1,227 in Council Tax.

The authority had already been one of the first councils in the country to publish payments over £500 – and now Conservative councillors are leading efforts for Council Tax bills to be made more transparent.

At a Full Council meeting tonight (17th October 2012), a majority of councillors approved plans that could lead to itemised statements being sent out along with Council Tax bills that breaks down how residents’ money is spent by the authority.

But Lib Dem councillors were split on the issue with some councillors either opposing the initiative or abstaining when it came to the main vote.

Rodway Conservative councillor Kevin Seager, who proposed the initiative on behalf of the Conservative Group, said:

“When times are as tough as they are at the moment, it’s never been more important to demonstrate to council taxpayers where exactly their hardened money is going and what it’s being spent on.”

“Great strides have been made by the council in more recent years to shine a light on where public money is spent, including being one of the first councils in the country to publish every payment over £500.”

“If Her Majesty’s Treasury is saying that it can provide a statement to each taxpayer showing how the national taxes that they have paid have contributed to public spending, then we should be looking to produce a local version.”

“It’s that sort of itemised breakdown which should provide confidence to local ratepayers that their money is continuing to be spent wisely and so it’s disappointing to see so many Lib Dem councillors failing to back this idea.”

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council


Council agrees to continue funding youth centres in Priority Neighbourhoods

Posted on Tuesday 11th September 2012 at 5:56 pm by SH (Editor)

Patchway Youth Centre, Coniston Road, Patchway, Bristol.

A Special Meeting of South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) last night confirmed a decision made by its Children and Young People Committee on 25th July that will see centre-based youth provision safeguarded in the authority’s six Priority Neighbourhoods (Cadbury Heath, Filton, Kingswood, Patchway, Staple Hill and Yate/Dodington).

The committee had also agreed that a pot of £227,000 be made available to contribute to ‘positive activities’ for young people in other parts of the district.

A lengthy three-and-a-half hour debate heard Conservative members argue for all the available funding to be distributed evenly across the district rather than being focused on mainly urban areas.

But the Liberal Democrats moved an amendment, backed by Labour, to keep youth centres in the six priority areas and make an increased amount of £427,000 available for other areas to bid for (the extra £200,000 being transferred from the separate budget for ‘targeted’ youth provision).

The Conservatives moved an amendment to increase the subsidy to £527,000, which was defeated.

The council eventually agreed that the sum available to the non-priority areas should be £437,700.

SGC currently runs 13 youth centres and a further six are run by voluntary organisations.

Local authority owned youth centres that will need to seek alternative premises management from 2013/2014 are located in Fromeside, Little Stoke, Hanham, Oldland and Wickwar. If organisations aren’t found to take over these centres, they are likely to be “decommissioned” by the council.

The youth centres in Thornbury, Chipping Sodbury and Almondsbury already operate in premises owned by another body.

Funding for the Armadillo youth café and centre in Yate is governed by a separate arrangement between SGC and Yate Town Council, although SGC says it wants to limit its contribution to £99,000 for 2013/14 and make the project “self-financing” in the near future.

Photo: Patchway Youth Centre – one the centres that will continue to be run by SGC (©Patchway Journal).

More: Reaction from the three main political parties »

Source: Press releases from the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative Groups on South Gloucestershire Council


Crunch vote on youth centre closures

Posted on Friday 7th September 2012 at 6:11 pm by SH (Editor)

The Conservatives.

Community leaders across South Gloucestershire are to make a last-ditch attempt to save their local youth centres at a special council meeting on Monday 10th September.

The special meeting of all seventy councillors is being held after Conservative councillors challenged a controversial decision taken by seven Labour and LibDem councillors on the authority’s Children and Young People Committee on 25th July.

At the July meeting, Conservative councillors had proposed a level playing field so that all youth centres and clubs across the whole district be able to bid into a £520,000 ‘positive activities’ budget.

The aim was to increase participation after the latest figures revealed that a whopping 4 out of 5 young people were shunning council youth centres on a regular basis.

But Labour and LibDem councillors did a deal – branded ‘dodgy’ by Conservatives – and used their combined majority to divert funding to centres in just six communities, whilst leaving all the remaining centres, including Thornbury, Hanham, Oldland, Little Stoke, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne and Wickwar, to compete over a ‘positive activities’ budget of just £227,700 – less than half of what Conservative councillors had proposed.

At the moment, the council allocates funding directly to youth centres, but these are not evenly spread across the district with many communities, particularly rural areas, lacking one entirely.

And even in communities where there is one, the latest figures for 2011/12 showed that of the 21,670 young people aged 13-19 in South Gloucestershire, just 4,431 regularly accessed a council youth centre.

This means that thousands of local young people currently have little or no access to council funded activities.

Cllr Keith Cranney, Conservative councillor for Stoke Gifford ward, which includes under-threat Little Stoke youth centre:

 “Little Stoke youth centre does a tremendous job and it’s already one of the most popular centres in the district.”

“But it doesn’t take a genius to work out that if Labour and LibDem councillors succeed in more than halving this ‘positive activities’ budget, then the chances of Little Stoke youth centre remaining open also more than halves.”

More: Councillor calls on residents to "fight for fairness" »

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council