Fareham Borough Council has declined an application by the Funtley Village Society to set up a parish council. The decision, which followed a comprehensive Community Governance Review, was taken at the Council Meeting held last night, 28th July 2016.
The Community Governance Review was held after the Council received a petition to create a parish council from the Funtley Village Society in 2015. A total of 565 questionnaires were sent to Funtley residents asking respondents if they wanted to: (a) create a Parish Council or (b) make no changes to the current arrangements; they were also asked to provide reasons for their views.
Responses to the consultation were received from 230 residents, representing 41% of those invited to take part. Of those 230 responses, 171 (75%) were in favour of creating a new Funtley Parish Council and 59 (25%) did not want to make any changes.
There have been various misleading statements that the 75% stated above was in fact 75% of all Funtley residents and this has caused some confusion. In fact only 30% of those consulted were in favour of setting up a parish council.
The introduction of a parish council would mean all Funtley residents, including the 70% that did not indicate they were in favour, would have to pay an extra tax on top of their existing bill. The extra tax is called a parish precept and is uncapped, ie unlike other parts of local government there are no limits on the size of the precept or any percentage increase. The amount is set each year by the parish council.
The purpose of the consultation was for the Council to understand people's views and the reasons for them; it was neither a referendum nor a vote. Of those in favour of setting up a parish council, 33% gave reasons for their decision and it was clear from these, and from a CAT meeting held by the Council in Funtley, that in some instances there was confusion about what people thought a parish council could do and consequently what they were voting for.
Of those against, 81% gave reasons for their decision and these were primarily about paying extra for services already received, affordability and adverse comments about Funtley Village Society.
All comments, both for and against, may be viewed on the council's website together with a copy of the Funtley Community Governance Review Report and supporting documents. See www.fareham.gov.uk/funtleygovernancereview .
Commenting on the decision to leave things as they are Cllr Woodward said: "In considering the options available, and reviewing the range of comments received, we have come to the conclusion that a parish council would not be in the best interests of the community of Funtley.
"Inflicting additional costs on residents that have not asked for it is a difficult thing to do, particularly in the current economic climate and could serve to damage community cohesion. It became apparent as the Governance Review progressed that the initial support was waning. In fact, the council has received just 32 responses, out of all of those working and living in Funtley, disagreeing with the council's recommendation not to form a parish council.
"I would urge Funtley residents to continue to raise any matters of concern with their Ward Councillors and to take advantage of the deputation scheme that already exists within the Council, to raise any issues that affect Funtley residents at the appropriate Committee, Executive or Council meeting."
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