Ilfracombe takes destiny into its own hands
ILFRACOMBE Town Council has decided to take the destiny of the town into its own hands by raising its own money for desperately needed regeneration projects - and not having to rely on the whims of others. On Monday the council voted to increase its coun
ILFRACOMBE Town Council has decided to take the destiny of the town into its own hands by raising its own money for desperately needed regeneration projects - and not having to rely on the whims of others.
On Monday the council voted to increase its council tax precept by a third, which will raise �40,000 more than last year.
Their decision follows the bitter and baffling disappointment of losing out to the richer St Ives for a �1 million pot of government cash which would have transformed Ilfracombe sea front.
Summing up the feeling of the council, the Mayor, Councillor Philip Webb, said Ilfracombe could no longer afford to be propelled one way and then the other on a "continual tide of optimistic funding opportunities" that often dissolve into nothing, leaving wasted time and disappointment in their wake.
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"As we have seen from the sea front grant rejection, if we are to move the town forward we have to take responsibility and do it ourselves," he said.
"There are lots of exciting projects we are working on that could come to fruition soon and it will be necessary for Ilfracombe to make small contributions to leverage bigger contributions from others."
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The increase of 32.34 per cent actually works out at an extra �10.72 per year for Band D households in the town. The total money raised amounts to �167,353, or �40,892 more than last year.
The budget break down includes �30,000 earmarked for regeneration work, plus a further �17,500 available as grants for community organisations.
Chairman of the council finance and general purposes committee, Councillor John Swan said the precept was still currently far lower than nearby neighbouring councils - 46.41 per cent less than Combe Martin and less than half that of South Molton.
"The council wishes to do more to improve the town for our residents and visitors and to do this we need a larger budget," he said.
"With relatively small sums we can get other organisations to contribute much more so that some of our exciting project proposals can become reality."
Mr Webb concluded: "Ilfracombe has been standing still for too long but now we are moving forward. We have the new ferry link starting in the spring and have been promised the money to build a new secondary school in the town. We need to capitalise on the momentum we now have but we need to have access to funds to turn our projects into reality.