Let’s be clear from the start. Desborough is a town of characters. Its community is the most important and significant influence. Take a walk along Station Road and you’ll discover a town centre largely made up from local entrepreneurs that have taken sustainable leaps of faith in their businesses. It is something to be proud of and sets the tone for ‘Ar Tarn’.
Unfortunately despite a 32.5% population increase (2001- 2011), recent years have seen Desborough unrewarded in economic terms via what may often be referred to as Section 106 payments or the ‘New Homes Bonus’ to support investment in the town with new or improved amenities.
As we all recognise, we have a legal obligation to pay our Council Tax. Incorporated within our Council Tax Demand Notice is a precept, or an inclusive taxation which can be imposed by Desborough Town Council. Despite the population increase, for this year, each tax payer has been rewarded for our loyalty and commitment to a town with a 422% precept increase gaining £350,000 for Desborough Town Council to spend in 2016/17. In previous years the total precept income has risen from £20,000 to £67,000 and now, to repeat, £350,000. This year's precept is one of the largest in the country. Yes, country, not county.
So, what is this £350,000 from Council Tax payers to be spent on? Apparently the community of Desborough want a new skate park, a new car park for the Town Centre, outdoor gyms not forgetting a Council office rented from Kettering Borough Council which is undergoing refurbishment, therefore we are paying for this TWICE as we also pay KBC within our taxes.
It is now known that in 2011, 3600 residents signed a petition against the demolition by Kettering Borough Council of the Hawthorns Skate Park which had been managed by volunteers. The reason given for demolition? Vandalism. Ask yourself, who the vandals were and who had most to gain from its demolition. The site is now awaiting a decision from Kettering Borough Council on a planning application from Midland Co-Operative Society. It is entirely possible that the skaters of 2011 are now eligible to vote. Can anyone recall any consultation with the young people of the town to ask them what they would like?
Moving on from the skate park to a car park. On occasions it may be necessary to go around the block to find a parking space but is it really necessary for Desborough residents to fund a £200,000 project without a full assessment. Has Desborough Town Council engaged with the Town Centre Partnership or the shopkeepers to ask them?
Many words may also be written about recent years activities. Instead let’s use the titles - Schools, Surgery, infrastructure, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Lawrence Factory site, potholes- we live in a town of 11,000 people and we don’t even have a bank, petrol station or a car wash to clean away the mud deposited by the Trout Farm lorries.
So, in short, where has all the previous years investment in our infrastructure and amenities gone to?
In May 2015, Desborough elected 12 people to represent them with a 65% turnout. Councillor Tebbutt received just over 1500 individual votes. 500 less than those residents that recently signed a petition objecting to the precept rise I remind you of 422%.
Since May, all 12 elected councillors have met in public on TWO occasions in eleven meetings. Despite this, decisions are quoted as being unanimous.
The recently delivered ‘Conservatives-In Touch with Desborough’ shows the concerns of 11/12ths of Desborough Town Council. If you’ve got this far reading, you’ll be perfectly capable of interpreting what has been missed out in their newsletter and you can form your own opinion.
Anyone attending the Desborough Town Council meeting held on 21st. April will have witnessed in real-time the characters who were elected (although four councillors were unavailable to attend!).
A collection of very concerned residents have formed a new ‘Focus Group’ following the birth of the social media Facebook page ‘Desborough Community Voice’ which meets to debate Desborough Town Council meetings and decisions. This new website is for all residents and interested parties to keep up to date with the peoples campaign against this unjust and immoral precept rise. There will be many workers around Desborough that recently gained a wage increase thanks to the National Living Wage which has now been taken away by Desborough Town Council.
Thank you to everyone that has been part of this journey providing support directly or indirectly. Keep the Faith! See you on 12th. May at Marlow House, upstairs room at 7.00pm!
If you’d like to get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Resounding No Confidence Result