‘Not on my watch’ – Havant leader vows not to increase taxes

The meeting at Havant Borough Council
The meeting at Havant Borough Council

Plans for new 110-home development at St James Hospital to go on display

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Council tax may have to go up one day – but not yet.

That was the message from the Conservative leader of Havant Borough Council as he laid out his budget at a full council meeting.

Councillor Michael Cheshire said he would look at ‘every opportunity’ to partner with the public, private or voluntary sector to help provide services without increasing bills for taxpayers.

‘We will seek other opportunities wherever they exist to work through different methods of delivery,’ he said.

‘As far as I am concerned the customer is king.’

More organisations will be encouraged to move to the Public Service Plaza in Havant.

‘The concept of the Public Service Village is very much alive,’ he said.

‘We intend to encourage new partners to join us at the Plaza such as Hampshire police.’

Labour councillor Ralph Cousins said keeping the council tax frozen was not apparent to taxpayers as only 13 per cent of the bill goes to Havant Borough Council – the lion’s share goes to the county council and the overall bill also includes parish or town council precepts, and charges for the police and fire service.

‘It’s a bit self-defeating,’ he said.

‘We are stripping ourselves of income but we are not really impressing it on the general public.’

Cllr Cheshire said the time would come where the council tax had to be increased, but ‘hopefully not on my watch’.

In other matters, Hayling Conservative councillor Leah Turner was voted the next Mayor, with Leigh Park Lib Dem Faith Ponsonby becoming the next Deputy Mayor.

Thanks were given to councillors who will be standing down at the next election – Hilary 
Farrow, David Collins, Ray Bolton, Cyril Hilton, George Smith, Richard Galloway, and Marjorie Smallcorn.