Sidmouth Town Council budget for 2024/25 reflects increased commitment to community services, new responsibilities and largest ever grant support
‘Supporting our vibrant community through continuing challenging times’, sums up Sidmouth Town Council’s budget for the next financial year. Whilst setting its budget and maintaining an already increased level of service provision and activities, the Town Council is also assisting a record 32 local organisations with grant allocations.
The precept, which is the Town Council’s share of the Council Tax, was approved by Councillors on Monday 22 January 2024. In order to continue to provide local services for its residents, businesses, visitors and support organisations, the authority has agreed to an increase, for 2024/25 in its overall precept, of £5.11 a year or 9.8p a week for an average Band D property. The increase means the Town Council’s portion of the annual Council Tax bill for a Band D property, will rise by 5.2% and be £102.70 a year or £1.98 a week.
In setting the annual budget, Members were conscious both of the cost of funding a wider range of services and the financial pressures which continue to affect the community. The increase reflects the growing number of services provided by Sidmouth Town Council. In line with many other town councils across the country, the Council continues to take on more responsibilities than ever before with the Knowle Parkland having been transferred in December 2023 to manage for the community to use and enjoy. Sidmouth Town Council will continue to provide many local services both statutory and discretionary such as its own public conveniences on the seafront and water bottle filling fountains which are provided on the Esplanade and at Jacobs Ladder. The Council will continue to complement the work of the District and County Council to ensure flower beds are colourful and attractive and the highway verges it manages, kept clean and maintained.
While setting its budget for 2024/25, the Council also agreed to award support to a record number of community organisations across the Sid Valley, providing opportunities for both younger and older residents with sports and social clubs, the arts, educational and environmental groups. Local community events that entertain and inspire both residents and visitors alike received continued support including Sidmouth Science Festival, Sidmouth, Sea Fest, the Walking Festival and Sidmouth Carnival. This increased level of support recognises the vital role of voluntary organisations in improving residents’ quality of life, and the continuing difficulties many face in securing alternative sources of funding.
A vibrant economy, supported through promotion of our High Street and of responsible, sustainable tourism, remains a key aim for the Town Council, with support for major festivals such as Sidmouth Folk Festival, Sidmouth Jazz and Blues Festival and Sidmouth Regatta together with annual support for Christmas Lights, Sidmouth in Bloom and Sid Valley Help. The Council will continue to build on the success of the Coast & Country project, encouraging environmentally conscious tourism that is accessible to all and responsive to the needs of our local community.
The Council’s commitment to continue a feasibility study into how it can best support services for children and young people in the Sid Valley has received further funding for 2024/25 and a sum for a new CCTV project in the town centre, working with the Police, has also been included.
The Chair of the Town Council, Councillor Chris Lockyear commented “”In setting its budget for next year I am pleased that the Council has been able to continue to support those things that are important to its residents such as the environment (both natural and built), tourism promotion, toilets, and help for our young people. I am also delighted that we have been able to help many of the voluntary groups who do so much for the cultural, sporting, environmental and community life in the Sid Valley.”