The Conservative Group of Councillors, who currently control Swindon Council, have confirmed their intention to impose new parishes on Swindon’s current non-parished areas. These new parishes will take on responsibility for services like grass cutting, street cleaning and pothole filling. They’re proposing this in spite of the vast majority of residents’ responses in the previous stage of the Community Governance Review opposing any new parishes.
The Conservative Group have confirmed that these new parishes will be expected to set a parish precept, charged to all households, in the region of £75. Together with Swindon Council’s expected Council-Tax increase, it is expected that residents’ council-taxes will increase by £120.
The next round of the Community Governance Review will be assuming that new parishes will be introduced but will be asking residents what parish boundaries they would like.
The Labour Group Leader, Councillor Jim Grant, said:
“The Conservatives have finally admitted what we have been saying for some time, that they want to impose new parish councils on people in order to increase the council-tax without getting the blame. We should not forget that they failed to announce this before the local elections so that residents could not have a say over this. And now they wish to subvert local democracy even further by imposing these new parish councils without holding a local referendum.
During the last stage of the Community Governance Review nearly every response from local residents said they did not want new parishes. Now the Conservative Group are ignoring those responses and going ahead with doing whatever they like no matter what residents think. One might call it a power trip.
Labour will make sure local residents do not forget that it is this Conservative administration who wants to dramatically hike up their council-tax bills and lead to increased local bureaucracy and complete confusion over who is responsible for local services.”