Council money matters discussed

Pocklington Mayor Coun Graham Perry
Pocklington Mayor Coun Graham Perry

PARKING charges and funding future town council projects were the main topics up for discussion at Pocklington’s town meeting.

Around thirty people attended the six-monthly meeting at Pocklington Arts Centre last Wednesday, chaired by the Mayor of Pocklington Councillor Graham Perry.

After an update on council projects already underway in the town, residents were given the chance to air their views on what the town council should be spending its money on into the future.

The issue of whether it should spend £26,000 to lease Pocklington’s three car parks from East Riding Council in order to keep them free for users was up for debate, with Coun Perry explaining that it would be Pocklington residents who would ultimately foot the bill.

He said: “Taking over the lease would cost a Band D ratepayer about £9 a year.

“The question is, the buoyancy of Pocklington worth it?

“In my view it is worth it, but there will always be the argument that the user should pay, especially for those who don’t have cars.

“That’s why we as a council felt it was very important to speak to the people about the options.”

A cheaper option for council tax payers in the Pocklington area would be to introduce two hours free parking at a cost of £13,000 a year, which would add around £4.50 a year to the council tax bill.

A consultancy firm hired by the town council is carrying out a survey on Pocklington car park usage and Coun Perry said: “The car park study will tell us once and for all how the car parks are being used and that should help us to make a decision.

“If anybody has a view, please tell us - we will look and listen to that view.

“Ultimately we will have to make a choice, or sit back and let the original East Riding decision come into effect.”

Coun Perry added that the end result of the car park study would be discussed in an open public meeting in about six weeks time.

Decisions also have to be made about whether the town council should contribute up to £30,000 to update the Arts Centre cinema.

It is expected that the current 33mm film used by the cinema will be phased out by 2013, meaning that unless the equipment is digitised, the Arts Centre would not be able to operate a cinema in the long-term.

Other town council budget considerations include the need to update the council offices heating system at a cost of at least £10,000, and whether it should take out a loan to refurbish the first floor of Oak House which could cost up to £250,000.

This would see a £6.48 rise in council tax.

Another potential future project includes a £50,000 skatepark which could be part-funded by grants, and decisions need to be made on whether to employ a handyman full-time for an extra £6,000 per year and whether the town council should contribute up to £5,000 to update Pocklington’s aged CCTV system.