ConsultationsThu, 30th March 2017
Consultations » VTC+ February 2014 conversation
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|Consultation No.4 | VTC+ February 2014 conversation ()
Here are the responses to the February VTC+ conversation with the Town Clerk's responses to them in italics:
- Well done with the progress with Salisbury Garden. Let’s hope and pray the last stage will get approved too and you can get the building work started. Will we get to see how the £46k from the increase in council tax will be budgeted?
- The use of the £46,000 will be regularly reported to the Town Council meetings and in the reports for them which are always made available on our web site. We’re not yet in a position to budget for its use as we don’t yet have all the detail we need from the Isle of Wight Council about which services are going to be lost, from when and how much they will cost. But you can be assured that that budget line is ring-fenced for the stated purpose of protection of local services.
- Our Place! appears to have many benefits but it seems rather early to expand the scheme before the 12 pilots schemes have been proved successful. Would it not be prudent to wait a few years before assessing whether or not the scheme had worked - and, if so, offering it to others? Members of the community may be interested in becoming involved in something new but the novelty may wear off after several months. In my limited experience, many people are quite apathetic about contributing their time and effort towards anything which does not have a visible and direct influence over their individual lives.
- The government – in the form of the Department for Communities and Local Government have already decided that the pilots have proved their worth on the basis of the evidence summarised in the pilot areas – lga summary and community budgets report on the end of this link. The timetable for the roll-out is set by them as is the timescale for accessing the funding and support. When we met with them on their visit to Ventnor I did challenge the timetable, as you have here. But the fact is that the £4.3M budget for supporting the next 120 areas has to be spent by them by 31 March 2015! So we decided to go with it, rather than not.
- I believe I read somewhere that the new refurbished building may include adult education facilities. I am an adult literacy teacher and I would be really interested to hear about new teaching and learning opportunities in Ventno
- The plans for the new Salisbury Gardens include the development of the lower ground floor as a Community Hub that will include two good quality training/meeting rooms, a flexible resource room and a well equipped kitchen. Adult/community education will be an important element of the the services available in those areas and we have the support of both the Isle of Wight College and the IoWC’s Adult & Community Learning Service in developing the project. We have to get final sign off from the IoWC for the building – expected 11 March – and then a 4-month building programme before the rooms will be ready for use, but very happy to have related conversations before then.
Since the IW Council acquired Salisbury Gardens for nothing (plus the other assets of the former South Wight Borough Council - carefully put together by historically previous Councils and Boards) I do not see what the large objection is except that some members of the former Tory leadership clearly wish to access some cash by selling off yet more of Ventnor's valuable assets. It has been made clear that the residents of Ventnor do not wish to see any more of these assets sold and the sooner that the objectors on the IW Council can come to terms with this, the better. Ventnor has once again been put at the bottom of the list by Newport in spite of the last May's election results.
Happily, as you know, the Independent administration is clear about putting its localism principles into practice and we have every reason to believe that the Cabinet will sign off on the lease arrangement at its 11 March meeting. It is disappointing, meanwhile, that Conservative Members are now attempting to separate the Green from the lease in order to explore its development potential by a resolution at next Wednesday’s full Council meeting.
- Good luck with ‘Our Place’. The increase in the precept is small if it ensures the toilets are kept open and our park, beach and open spaces are maintained and "Ventnor Pride" is upheld.
- Many thanks for the good wishes – and the support over the precept increase. We will as promised keep VTC+ members fully informed as the struggle to preserve local services rolls out. After an initial meeting with IoWC senior staff, it’s clear it’s not going to be easy: not because they are not being helpful – they absolutely are – by due to the costs involved.