Demand for Ilfracombe precept referendum

TRADE unionists in Ilfracombe have protested at the town council’s decision to raise its precept by 21.3 per cent.

The decision on Monday night will add about 75p a month to the Council Tax on a Band D property.

Ilfracombe Trades Council secretary Mike Creek has written to Communities Minister Eric Pickles calling on him to order a local referendum to gauge public opinion.

“Working people are being financially hit with quite dramatic increases to their cost of living,” he wrote. “Prices of food, fuel, electricity, gas have all risen recently wwith VAT adding to costs.

“Wages, especially in the public sector, are frozen in this part of the world.”

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The town council agreed to set its precept at �202,553 in order to continue its support of town services and pursue its 10-year strategy. Mayor Bob Thompson said:”We must not take the short term view. Without regeneration, the livelihoods of Ilfracombe’s residents will be put further at risk.

And Cllr Leo Cooper said: “In order to kick-start regeneration from within our town, Ilfracombe Town Council can be much more influential with an increased precept.

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“The days of sitting on our hands and waiting for investment to come our way have long gone.

“We should not rely on going cap-in-hand to higher tiers of government in order to realise the dreams of our community.

“Our recently published 10-year strategy for the town shows vision, ambition and has been widely praised by many different organisations and all tiers of government.

n Details of tehe council’s 10-year strategy can be found by visiting and clicking on the link Srategic Plan 2010-2020.

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