What does the Town Council spend your money on?
On Jan 7th 2020, Henley Town Council will need to approve the budget for 2020-2021. It is likely that a deficit of about £150k will be approved. Whilst Henley Residents Group would like to have a balanced (zero) deficit, there are many services, facilities and amenities that we run. Our council tax (the Parish Tax for Henley) in 2019-2020 was £95 for an average Band D property, the lowest of all South Oxfordshire towns.
Below is a list of some of the services you get for that, most of which are the responsibility of other organisations such as Oxfordshire County Council / South Oxfordshire District Council. We hope you agree that this represents great value for money for your £95 per year.
New, planned or recent projects Henley Town Council have carried out which result in expenditure.
- Town bus service, weekday – when Oxfordshire County Council ceased the service this was funded from Community Infrastructure Levy. This is now funded from Section 106 at around £35k per year, but administrative costs from income and expenditure.
- An additional Saturday bus service for 1 year at a cost of £12,400 is being run now. Paid from Community Infrastructure Levy.
- South Oxfordshire District Council funds towards the cost of the Town Manager were withdrawn from last year but Council supported the continuation of the full-time role – the role includes
- supporting/representing local businesses,
- putting on business shopping events,
- getting Action Plan funds towards initiatives such as Midsomer Murders etc,
- supporting the Ovo Women’s Cycling event,
- publicizing events on the Visit Henley website,
- networking with hospitality/tourism business – all aimed at getting more footfall in Henley to help businesses.
- May Fayre,
- new bunting,
- Henley In Bloom etc. to make the town beautiful and encourage footfall for businesses.
- We have also increased the budget for Xmas Festivities, Council events
- Neighbourhood Plan – the equivalent to at least one full-time staff member is engaged in the revision of the plan and issues that follow on from it, including
- traffic calming,
- Community Infrastructure Levy income and expenditure,
- transport surveys etc.
- Climate Emergency /Air Quality issues are new on the agenda and the Town Council is keen to take this on, with possible match funding from South Oxfordshire District Council. However, again staff time and some other expenditure is included in the budget. Henley Town Council have already paid for seventeen planters in town at a cost of £8k and will soon pay for 20mph zone £20k (approx..), as well as the No Idling campaign, £2k and have pledged to contribute £5k to particulate measuring (latter should be fully South Oxfordshire District Council funded). Possible further support for electric car points and car-pooling, and associated staff time involved.
- Paying for bollards along River Terrace – should be done by Oxfordshire County Council Highways.
- Possible layby at Gillotts Field – should be Oxfordshire County Council Highways.
- Henley 60+ Club has been awarded an extra £5k (now getting £15k) to assist and support the elderly. In addition, they have free use of the building in Greys Road Car Park.
- Community Grants budget has been increased to £12k as from last year to help small community organisations and charities.
- Grant to Bluebells for Dementia Centre £8.2k for three years started last year due to cessation of funding from AgeUK.
- The grant to the River and Rowing Museum was increased last year to £14.8k – had been £10k up to 2017/18. This was to support their education programme. They also get free rent of the building (but pay for the car park).
- Headway Thames Valley grant £5k from 2018/19 for music therapy to replace funds withdrawn from other funders.
- Henley Music School grant £3k from 2018/19 as music being withdrawn from schools.
- Family Centre grant £2.5k in 2020/21 (reduced from 2018/19 and 2019/20) to help support families following Oxfordshire County Council funds withdrawn.
- Significant improvements to the play areas at Makins and Freemans Park, including the Skate Park, to support the young people of Henley in the past couple of years. This has resulted in some drawdowns of investments with consequent impact on investment income. Previously there were grants from South Oxfordshire District Council / Oxfordshire County Council towards the costs of replacement play equipment.
- The cemetery was taken over from South Oxfordshire District Council many years ago. There will soon be costs on the Columbarium as part of Henley Town Council’s capital programme which would not be required if it had remained South Oxfordshire District Council property. South Oxfordshire District Council are unlikely to make a capital contribution.
- Proposed Budget includes £5k contribution to tackle antisocial behaviour which should be a Thames Valley Police matter. Not enough police or PCSOs in the town.
Not new, but continue to be supported by the Town Council due to lack of other funding:
- NOMAD support for outreach worker – started many years ago again due to reduced funding from Oxfordshire County Council.
- Verge cutting – Henley continues to only get funds from Oxfordshire County Council for two cuts of the verges in Henley. Henley Town Council pays to cut them all 6 – 8 times per year. There has been no increase in the Oxfordshire County Council contribution since it was halved in 2015/16.
- The Citizens Advice Bureau and Henley Volunteer Bureau have free use of 34 Market Place
- Many organisations and charities have free use of Council rooms including the Margaret Day Room and town hall rooms, and occasionally the Old Fire Station Gallery (not new, but the list of free users increases over time).
- Many sports clubs and organisations have almost free use of our land/facilities to support sport in the town. Jubilee Park (sports centre at Tesco) costs now fall to Henley Town Council.
- We continue to support security in the town with CCTV cameras and 50% contribution to the cost of one PCSO.