There seemed to be a general consensus on two points among the people attending the Annual Parish Council/PACT meeting at Alvechurch Village Hall on April 15.
One was that there was strong support from the local community for Alvechurch Parish Council and the other was the frustration and disappointment in Worcestershire County Council’s Highways Department, particularly with regard to its seemingly entrenched attitudes and indifference to problems of speeding traffic through towns and villages.
It was encouraging to hear the new Police and Crime Commissioner, who was the guest speaker at the meeting, accept the need for more stringent enforcement of speed limits throughout West Mercia, but there was no representative from the county council to offer any similar undertakings on their part.
Given the correspondence in recent editions of The Village on getting “value for money” from the various authorities, it might be useful to put the performance of the parish council and the county highways department into a financial context.
Page 26 of the booklet circulated with council tax bills for 2013-14 shows a table in which the council tax to be paid in each of the eight bands is analysed between the district council, the county council, the police authority, the fire and rescue authority and the average parish council.
An owner of a property in band D will pay £1,502 in council tax this coming year, of which just £18.30 (or 1.2%) will be spent on its parish council.
The same owner will pay £1,039 for services from the county council (excluding the cost of schools, which is funded separately), and of this sum £110 (or 7.3% of his council tax) will be spent on highways alone. The costs for a band H property are twice those quoted for a band D property, although the percentages are the same.
So we appear to be paying six times as much for Highways as we are on services provided by the parish council.
Perhaps the prospective candidates for the county council elections might like to comment on this in view of the perception of the local community expressed at the annual meeting.
Bob Dale, Weatheroak