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Column 16th August 2017

Wantage Town Council doubled our council tax, so presumably we're getting double the service?

You may remember that over a year ago, Wantage Town Council doubled its Council Tax.

We decided that it was time to see what they are doing with our money.

The only property they have to manage are things like the cemetery, the allotments, the car park in the market place and the occasional footpaths.

They don’t even own their own offices – these were given to the Vale when we moved from Berkshire to Oxfordshire.

Wantage Town Council haven’t even managed to finish the Neighbourhood plan more than a year since it was removed from the volunteers and returned to the management of Councillors and Council Officers.

If they managed to complete this it would almost double the amount of developer contributions available to the Town.

They recruited a Deputy Town Clerk about a year ago to take some of the work load from the Town Clerk, but the detailed results of the town-wide Health Survey in February have still not been published.

We have been promised traffic calming measures but have yet to see these materialise - other than the slowing caused by illegally parked cars.

We haven’t noticed much of the increased Council Tax being spent to improve the town.

In the speech at the end of his first year in office, the Mayor mentioned that he had attended 80 events and 65 Council meetings.

He talked about the Summer Festival, the Not Just the Betjeman Festival, events organised by the Ray Collins Charitable Trust, and the Dickensian Evening.

All of these events are organised by volunteers not by the Town Council.

The town council did organise the Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations last year and the Armed Forces Day this year but the idea of celebrating King Alfred’s day has been quietly dropped, even though being the birthplace of the only “Great” King England has ever had is the one thing that Wantage is known for.

The Town Council give grants and donations to a number of charitable organisations around the town including the Vale and Downland Museum and the Wantage Independent Advice Centre but have done little, if anything, to improve the parking problems, bus services or any other of the factors which affect our every-day lives.

Even the Town Team which works hard to improve the retail experience in the town is funded mainly by the district council – not the town.


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