Steep rise in Pinchbeck’s council tax to maintain and develop services

Repairs to the wall and gate at St Mary's Church, Pinchbeck, has partially led to a 132 per cent council tax precept increase for 2018-19.
  • Cemetery extension and church repairs bring jump of nearly £62,000

Pinchbeck council tax payers face a sharp rise in their bills after parish councillors agreed to a precept increase of 132 per cent.

The council tax share will jump from £46,500 in 2017-18 to £108,342 for the next financial year starting in April, a leap of nearly £62,000.

The council works hard to keep the annual precept at an appropriate level in order to maintain the assets we continue to enjoy in the village

Pinchbeck Parish Council spokesman

Plans to expand Pinchbeck Cemetery, grass cutting previously done by Lincolnshire County Council and repairs to the wall and gate at St Mary’s Church are the main reasons given for the rise which will see the average Band D figure for the year go up from £27.54 in 2017-18 to £63.13 for 2018-19.

A parish council spokesman said: “The council works hard to keep the annual precept at an appropriate level in order to maintain the assets we continue to enjoy in the village.

“Generally, the precept covers the cost of maintenance, including grass cutting in the cemeteries, maintenance of trees, churchyards, bus shelters and the memorial ground (off Rose Lane).

“The precept is always offset somewhat by the income we receive from land and allotment rentals, but it must also be used to assist with developing longer term aspects of the village.”

The most expensive project is the cemetery expansion over three to five years and for which an extra £20,000 has been set aside “to start this process”, according to the spokesman.

Another £5,000 has been allocated for the repairs at St Mary’s Church and a “contingency fund” has been set up for tree maintenance “in delicate locations, such as the cemetery.”

The spokesman added: “Without a precept increase, it would be impossible to carry out any of this work.”

Outside of Spalding, which has its own budget to pay for services normally maintained by parish councils, Pinchbeck will have the second biggest precept of any South Holland town or village after Holbeach which has set a 2018-19 figure of £197,899.

South Holland District Council plans to raise its council tax share for 2018-18 by nearly £5, an average Band D annual charge of £168.83, and the Police and Crime Commisioner has decided on a rise of nearly £12 or an average Band D rate of £217.44.

Meanwhile, Lincolnshire County Council is considering a precept rise of nearly five per cent, adding just over £58 to the annual average Band D figure for 2017-18 of £1,173.42 to make it £1,231.47.

Altogether, the average Band D council tax payer in Pinchbeck will see their 2018-19 bill go up from £1,571.27 to £1,681.87, an extra £110 or seven per cent

A parish council spokesman said: “We are reluctant to raise the precept but we are requesting this increase for good reason as we do not wish to see the quality of services eroded.”

The Reverend David Sweeting, Vicar of Pinchbeck, said: “Once a churchyard has been closed, the law provides for the maintenance of that burial ground to be undertaken by the local authority.

“This is a normal obligation which recognises that the provision of burial spaces and their subsequent care is the responsibility of the whole community.

“In the case of St Mary’s that means Pinchbeck Parish Council is the civic authority bearing this responsibility.

“Both I and the people of St Mary’s are grateful for the support of the parish council and I understand that it has identified the boundary wall and gateway of the churchyard as in need of repair at an estimated cost of £5,000.

“This will continue to ensure the beauty and safety of this space in our community and I am delighted that this will be so.

“In regards to the securing of additional burial space, that is a matter also resting with the parish council, rather than the church, in order to ensure that there is space for future generations to lay to rest those who have lived within our community.”

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