Niton and Whitwell Parish Council met on Monday 24th October at the Edward Edwards Library, Niton. Members considered the measures proposed by the Isle of Wight Council to reduce the cost of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in the light of decreasing assistance from the Government and resolved to comment as follows: “The Parish Council is aware of the detrimental impact to local families of cuts in benefits and is strongly opposed to any cuts affecting families and children; the Parish Council could only support option 2, the reduction of the period for which a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive Council Tax Relief from 13 weeks to 4 weeks.”
The Parish Council also responded to the 2017/18 Local Government Finance Settlement Technical Consultation with the comment that it is not in favour of extending the principle of referenda to ANY town or parish councils. Currently, as you will be aware, the Isle of Wight Council can only raise its Council Tax by 2% or more by holding a local referendum and gaining approval from the electorate. The Government is now proposing to extend the principle, initially to larger town councils and then to all town and parish councils. If adopted, the measure would severely limit the Parish Council’s capacity to take on in future any community assets and services that the Isle of Wight Council cannot afford to run.
The Isle of Wight Ramblers Association and the Parish Council have each agreed to buy one gate for the footpath behind Whitwell Garage (NT14), which meant we only needed one more gate. It’s now been decided that we can manage with two so we should soon see the work beginning. This is a brilliant result for the Parish! If you’d still like to provide a gate and, as a result, access to footpaths for those who cannot easily negotiate stiles, the Ramblers have an excellent “Donate a Gate” scheme: a gate and commemorative plaque costs £460. If you’d like to find out more, please contact Mike Slater on (01983) 752997, or see our website.
I’m sorry to report that Mr Graham Melville resigned from office in early November. You may be aware that Graham volunteers as an NHS “Community First Responder” and is often called out to attend to patients waiting for an emergency ambulance to arrive. Our loss is the Ambulance Service’s gain! Since the next election is less than 6 months away (Oh no, just when it was all over in the USA!!!), the Parish Council can choose to co-opt directly or to carry the Whitwell vacancy up to the election on 8th May. If you are interested in serving the community as a Parish Councillor, election papers will be available from mid January. You can either download them from the Isle of Wight Council website or I can provide a printed copy.
It’s fantastic to see “double deckers” on the number 6 bus route again! Island Roads and Southern Vectis have persevered with the tedious work of clearing the entire route and finally the last overhanging tree has been trimmed. This should ease the overcrowding experienced on some journeys.
The Parish Council is to host a meeting to discuss the postponed resurfacing of Chatfield Road. If you will be affected by the roadworks and would like your view to be represented, please contact a member of the Parish Council or me as soon as possible. Our thanks go to Councillor Phil Jordan, Isle of Wight Council Executive Member responsible for the PFI, for his assistance in securing effective consultation on this.
Vickie Ford, Parish Clerk