Wiltshire Councillor Charles Howard’s Report 12th May 2016
I have pleasure in presenting my annual report from Wiltshire Council for 2015/16.General County Matters.Council Tax – The increase this year was approximately 4.5% including the Wiltshire Constabulary , Fire and Rescue and Parish precepts and a Social Care Levy of 2% which is being charged to cover the ever increasing cost of caring for the vulnerable and elderly. Another cost that must be met by Wiltshire Council this year is the additional 2% Employer’s National Insurance contribution which became payable on staff salaries from April. This is due to changes in the State Pension for employees.This is the first increase in the Wiltshire Council element in six years, and is necessary for reasons that are largely beyond the Council’s control. Yet again we have had to absorb another big cut in central government funding and the effects of inflation, but it should be remembered that the increase in the Retail Price Index in the past six years has been just over 15%, so with a Council Tax increase of only 4.5% over the same period this means that Council Tax has actually fallen in real terms over the past six years.On a personal note, I continue as a member of four committees of Wiltshire Council. I am chairman of the Eastern Area Planning Committee, a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, Chairman of the Wiltshire Pension Fund Investment Committee and a member of the Police and Crime Panel. I am also a Governor of The Wellington Academy.Local Matters.I have been involved in a range of issues of direct interest to Collingbourne Ducis during the past year, including:Planning applications- a number of important applications have been submitted and considered during the past year, including at Station Yard, Herridge and the Aster applications to demolish garages and replace them with houses. I was pleased to see the opening of the new Puffin Crossing in the centre of the village, after several years of negotiation and lobbying of Wiltshire Council. As already announced, I have been informed that the surface of the A338 from the north down to the roundabout near The Tipple Inn is to be renewed during 2016/17. No exact date for the work is available at the moment. This should result in a useful reduction in the level of traffic noise in the village.The traffic problems at Church Bends remain. The public meeting in June was useful in that it gave many people an insight and understanding of the problem, and this remains very much an open issue.I was also very involved in resisting the failed attempt by Wiltshire Council to close the Everleigh Household Recycling Centre. It is far from certain that there will not be another move by Wiltshire Council to close the site at some time in the future, and my fellow councillors and I will be keeping a close eye on that .It has been a pleasure working with the Parish Council during the past year, and I look forward to continuing to do so in the coming year.Charles Howard, Wiltshire Councillor for the Collingbournes and Netheravon. 4th May 2016 Chairman thanked Wilts Cllr in his absence him for his help and support.