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Milford Parish Council to hike share of tax by 12% to cover costs of new community land

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MILFORD Parish Council has agreed to increase its annual share of the council tax by 11.9% to cover the extra costs of managing a new community space next to the village primary school.

The increase is equivalent to an additional £5.40 a year for a band D property – taking its total share of the 2022/23 council tax bill to £50.57.

This means the parish council will receive an annual £147,000 to maintain public spaces, sports facilities and play areas, pay it staff and undertake further enhancements. It will also receive around £1,800 from rental of its facilities, and around £20,000 carried over from this year.

The open space at the Swifts
The open space at the Swifts

Parish clerk Graham Wells explained the extra money would be needed to maintain the area of land off School Lane which is set to pass into the ownership of the parish council in 2022.

It already features a children play area and a number of community allotments.

The land will be donated to the community as part of an agreement with Pennyfarthing Homes, which built homes on Lymington Road, including a one-off payment of £182,000 for maintenance or enhancements.

Mr Wells said: “As we have considered the ambitions and aspirations for the site it has become clear that the one-off payment from the developer will be needed to bring these to fruition. Therefore we need to budget in our precept for the necessary maintenance of this significant site.”

It also emerged that extensive maintenance work undertaken by Milford Conservation Volunteers at the community-owned Pleasure Grounds is likely to be reduced next year as a result of the increasing age of volunteers.

As a result the parish council agreed to increase the contracted hours of groundsman Josh Mantock from 26 hours a week to 32.5 hours a week and budget a further £6,000 for a new 16-hours-a-week groundskeeper at the Lymington Road site.

The meeting heard the village is expect to grow by 180-200 homes in the next two years.

The current combined average band D council tax bill in the New Forest for 2020/21 is £1,924, comprising charges from parish, district and county councils, plus the fire and police services.

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