>> Projects Consultation
How should the Parish Council spend
its money on projects in the future?
The Parish Council will receive, over the next few years, about £350,000 from the developers of the 110 houses behind the Horse and Groom and will spend that money to enhance the amenities of the village. However, any new project will, almost certainly, have an ongoing running cost that will have to be paid for from Council Tax. You are asked to give your views on the use of the £350,000 bearing in mind those future ongoing costs.
The survey can be found in the SMPC January newsletter or from Mortimer Library and, once completed, dropped off at Budgens, The Baobab, the Surgery or the Library by Saturday, 8th February. Alternatively, the survey can be filled in online at: https://tinyurl.com/Mortimer2020
More information about the process and the possible projects is below and will be available at a manned exhibition in the Library on:
2pm – 4pm
5:30pm – 7:30pm
10am – 12:30pm
You are also asked to think of any new projects that are not listed and that you believe would enhance the village and help deliver the vision set out in the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP).
The Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP), which the village voted for in 2017, has a ‘vision’ for Mortimer in the future:
The Plan will make it possible for people to live the whole of their lives in the parish if they so wish.
The rural character and setting of the parish will remain with the minimum of intrusion on the existing surrounding green and agricultural space.
Generally, any projects should be in conformity with that vision.
Paying for the Projects
The £350,000 from the developers will be received as part of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). CIL is mainly geared for capital funding – the Parish Council is not permitted to use it (for example) to subsidise day-to-day administrative costs, reduce the precept, etc. Having said this it is important to understand that most of the capital projects proposed below will incur future running costs that will have to come out of operating expenditure and may, therefore, require an increase in the council tax precept. The running costs will go on indefinitely into the future and will, therefore, increase the amount of Council Tax that must be paid. Each of the projects illustrated at this exhibition shows the increase in Council Tax that would be needed to cover the ongoing running costs.
The Projects (General)
The projects illustrated in this exhibition are the ones that the Parish Council is presently considering taking forward. Some of them have been thought about for some time while others have only recently been brought forward.
It is very clearly recognised that these projects are only a selection of possible projects that could be taken forward. As such, residents and businesses are being asked to put forward their ideas for future projects. The responses to the existing projects, and possible new ones, will help the Parish Council draw up a programme of projects to be implemented over the next few years as funds become available.
It is quite possible that some projects will have money spent on them only to find that they are incapable of implementation. This is unfortunate but without examining the possible projects in more detail, and spending money on that examination, there is no way of knowing if they are viable or not.
Because the projects are at an early stage of development, it must also be stressed that the estimates for both the initial costs and the running costs are simply educated broad brush figures. It is quite likely that unknown costs, such as changed circumstances due to new Government regulations, will emerge as the process evolves and will influence the Parish Council’s decision whether to proceed or not.
The timetable for implementation will vary from project to project and will be largely influenced by outside bodies, such as the gaining planning permission from West Berkshire Council.
The Projects (Details)
Pavement down The Street
Minor changes to the verges, pavement and roadway to ensure a 1.5m wide pavement is available from the War Memorial to St. Mary’s School.
This will widen the pavement where it is too narrow at present and give a safer route to school for pupils and parents.
SMPC owning the Library
SMPC taking on the leasehold ownership & running of the Library building, setting up a trust to do so.
This will enable changes to be made to the Library such as enlarging it and allowing it to be used for a wider range of events.
Electric vehicle (EV) charging points
Provision of two EV charging points in both the Community Centre carpark and the St. John’s church car park. Ascertaining demand for roadside EV charging points near properties with no off-street parking.
With climate change a major issue, this could be the start of a programme of initiatives to help Mortimer become carbon neutral, promoting EV adoption and serving residents and visitors, and benefitting the environment.
Footpath to Burghfield
Provision of a footpath/cycleway between Mortimer and Burghfield (east side of Burghfield Road from College Piece corner to roundabout with Padworth Road). This is subject to agreement by several landowners.
Since WBC removed the free school bus there has been no free way for pupils to travel to and from Willink without using the paths through the woods or using the main road. This would allow walking and cycling along a relatively safe route.
Extending Use of the Tennis Courts
A feasibility study into: firstly, the provision of floodlights on the Fairground to allow the tennis courts to be used during the evenings throughout the year; secondly, to consider if it would be feasible to alter the tennis courts to allow other sports to be played on the hard surface.
This proposal is just for a feasibility study for both the provision of floodlights and any other alterations to the tennis courts to allow other sports to be played on the hard surface as well as tennis. As such the feasibility study would be in two parts and the conclusions on the two parts would be independent of each other.
Permanent Cricket Nets
A permanent compound to hold cricket nets for cricket practise.
Mortimer Cricket Club wish to erect a secure compound 32m x 4m with a wicket practice ground surface and nets alongside the northern side of the tennis courts to hold and protect its cricket nets and provide an enhanced facility for coaching, training and warm up. The Cricket Club would find other funds to provide the surface and nets and this project is only for the fencing and costs involved with the installation of it.
Public Toilet on the Fairground
A feasibility study into the provision of a public toilet on the Fairground.
There have been frequent requests to provide a public toilet on the Fairground. There are various options for this and the issues as to what type, which site and the technicalities of the required services have proved difficult for the Council to work out, although it seems likely that no solution will cost less than £50,000. This project proposes a professional feasibility study to provide the necessary information for an informed decision. It should be noted that the annual cost of maintenance and cleaning of the toilets is likely to be quite substantial compared to other projects; perhaps up to £10 per annum per Band D property.
Fitness Equipment on the Fairground
The provision of adult fitness equipment on the Fairground.
A group of outdoor exercise machines would provide a free gym area for all and could be used by fitness training classes as well as individuals.