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From 1st April 2013, Fairfield ceased to be part of Stotfold, and a new Fairfield Parish, with its own Parish Council was formed

Fairfield Community Governance Review


In August 2011, five residents of the Fairfield area of Stotfold submitted a document and petition to Central Bedfordshire Council requesting a review to create a Fairfield Community Council (Parish Council), outside a changed Stotfold boundary.

After receiving a copy of the submission, the Town Council considered its response, and it was resolved that:

This Council does not support the petition to form a new Fairfield Community Council.

A leaflet explaining the Council's view and the impact the formation of a new separate Council for Fairfield could have for all Stotfold residents was produced and circulated to every household in Stotfold.  A copy of the leaflet can be found below.

During the review, Central Beds Council suggested the concept of Warding as a way forward, and every household in Stotfold was consulted on the matter.  The closing date for responses is 9th March 2012.

Stotfold Town Council considered the matter at its January 2012 meeting and believes that the concept of Warding is not suitable for our town.


LEAFLET DISTRIBUTED TO EVERY HOUSEHOLD IN STOTFOLD

Click to jump to: letter from Mayor, financial impact of the proposal, current facilities available in the town, future infrastructure implications for Stotfold, and responding to the Review

Dear Stotfold residents,

In August we received from Central Bedfordshire Council, the timetable of consultation about the submission prepared by five people from Fairfield Park, Stotfold, concerning their desire to form a new separate Parish Council in that area.

They are all either connected with the Fairfield Park Residents Association or the Community Hall Steering Group.  Two of them, at the May elections became Stotfold Town Councillors, and with the other Councillors can be contacted by any resident from any part of Stotfold.

Many people in Stotfold have connections with the Fairfield site from; working there, playing bowls, cricket, football, being in amateur dramatics, having relatives who did these things or perhaps having been a patient there.  Some patients were allowed to walk about Stotfold and were no problem.  Stotfold people regarded the Hospital as an integral part of Stotfold.  New residents to the town have been discovering the 120+ clubs, groups and associations in the town.  These are listed on the Council's website http://www.stotfoldtowncouncil.gov.uk/ in the community pages.

Central Bedfordshire Council, in the document Local Development Framework (LDF) Core Strategy 3.17.1 states "Stotfold is one of the district's Minor Service Centres and is located close to the A1 and A507.  The permitted southern expansion of Stotfold and the remaining ares of development at Fairfield Park are due to be built out and will take time to assimilate into the life of the town ... 3.17.2 In terms of population, Stotfold (including Fairfield Park) will be the second-largest settlement in Mid Bedfordshire by 2011".  Therefore Central Bedfordshire Council recognises that integration of new residents takes time.  Not enough time has yet elapsed.

The Town Council, as the Parish in which Fairfield falls, has been involved in the development of Fairfield Park since 1992.  It responded as a consultee to two public inquiries and has dealt with nearly 1400 planning documents for the site.

The developers decided not to hand over the public areas and community building to the Town Council, but to administer them through three Management Companies and charge the Fairfield homeowners directly for these facilities.  Had they been passed to the Town Council we would have appointed contractors and the costs would have been spread across Stotfold including the town rate that Fairfield also pay.  The Town Council will shortly be taking over the play areas at Queen Street and also the public areas on the land south of Stotfold.  The Fairfield developers decided on Management Companies because they needed one for the Hall, as happens with most blocks of flats, and treated the rest of the site in the same way with the other two management companies.

The Town Council does not agree that the Fairfield site and adjoining areas should be removed from the town.  The rest of this document gives further details about the Town Council's position.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Brian Collier, Mayor of Stotfold

One thousand plus registered electors, mostly from Fairfield, signed acknowledging to Central Bedfordshire Council that the Fairfield Park Governance Review should take place. This does not necessarily imply that they all agree with the applicants aims.




Financial impact of the proposal
In their submission the 5 proposers have said that the Band D equivalent for Fairfield area of Stotold is 1140.  A figure they obtained from Central Bedfordshire Council.  For the purposes of calculating Council Tax no matter what band from A to H your property actually is, it is converted into a notional equivalent number of Band D properties.  The number 1140 was a raw figure and did not take into account single occupancy discount, second home discount, etc.  Central Bedfordshire Council have sent a closer estimate, 719, shown in Table 1.  They are working on a more accurate estimate, but we have not yet received it.

The Proposers have sent to Central Bedfordshire Council a draft budget for the first year; in fact if Central Bedfordshire Council agrees to set up a Fairfield Council they will decide the first budget figure.  The draft budget is for £92,525 divded by their 1140 gives a Band D precept figure of £81.62.  The Town Council's precept for the whole of Stotfold is £81.30.

Table 1 shows the Band D equivalent for Fairfield only as 719 this divided into £92,535 gives a Band D precept figure of £128.68.  This would be the 4th highest parish rate in the whole of Central Bedfordshire.  It is beaten by Ampthill at £175.04, Dunstable at £139.65 and Houghton Regis at £128.69.  For residents of Fairfield this would be paid on top of the Variable Rent Charge for the services that a town or parish normally provides.
 

Table 1 – Tax Base – equivalent number of Band D properties

Band       Stotfold Fairfield Stotfold less
                now        part        Fairfield
A              104.59      0.00    104.59
B               373.96    16.14    357.82
C               785.73 143.54    642.19
D             1169.58 265.61    903.97
E               762.97 151.01    611.96
F               310.34  42.43     267.91
G              304.00 103.95    200.05
H                   0.00     0.00         0.00


Total        3811.17 722.68   3088.49

Non pay         19.06     3.61        15.45

Tax Base
Rounded 3792.00 719.00   3073.00

 


The impact this would have on ratepayers is shown in Table 2 if this had happened this tax year.  The Fairfield area would be paying more because of the higher draft budget demand, and the remainder of Stotfold would pay more because of the loss of what Fairfield currently contributes.  If the boundary remains as in the proposal, Stotfold residents who live on Hitchin Road (Fairfield side of the roundabout) and those off Stotfold Road beyond Fairfield would pay more than they are currently paying.
 

Table 2 – Impact on Rates
Band       Stotfold Fairfield Stotfold less
                now        part        Fairfield
A              54.20     85.79     66.88
B               63.23    100.08    78.03
C               72.27    114.38    89.17
D              81.30    128.68   100.32
E               99.37    157.28   122.61
F              117.43   185.87   144.91
G             135.50   214.47   167.20
H             162.60   257.36   200.64

In Fairfield also add on the variable rent charge


The remaining part of Stotfold could see their Council Tax increase depending on which Band your property falls within (see Table 2) by £12.68 for Band A (£66.88 - £54.20) to £38.04 for Band H properties.

 

Community Hall

In the Special Town Council meeting to determine the Town Council’s views of the Fairfield Park petition, a Councillor who lives on the Park intimated that ‘if the Town Council would give them £50,000 towards the Community Hall, there would be no need to form a Fairfield Community Council’

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Current facilities available in the town

"No youth facilities at Fairfield"
Scouts, Guides, Army Cadets, St John Youth Section, Church youth groups, Stotfold Junior Football Club (boys and girls) exist in Stotfold and are available for more youngsters from Fairfield to join.  In terms of the difficult to reach youths the old County Council withdrew from youth provision in Stotfold many years ago and the only youth work in this category has been done by the Aragon Housing Association Youth Worker.

Central Bedfordshire Council has recently considered youth provision, there was none allocated for Stotfold but some based at Arlesey Youth Centre.  So this is not just a problem at Fairfield, but throughout all of Stotfold.

Green spaces and play areas
If Stotfold Town Council had been given the open green areas including play areas, then the maintenance of those areas would have been added to our existing contracts.  Maintenance schedules already exist for Fairfield and coudl continue but in our experience the number of grass cuts is increasing with the milder general weather.  The Directors of the Management Companies have it within their powers to transfer these areas to the Town Council, so when Fairfield Park Residents Company Ltd has Directors who live on the site they will have the authority to act, until then none of the residents have that authority.  The only registered Directors we are aware of are those from the Middlemarch Residents Association Ltd.

What Fairfield residents can and have benefited from within Stotfold
Allotments, Cemetery, hiring of the Simpson Centre and Memorial Hall, four other equipped play areas, open spaces: Hitchin Road Recreation Ground, The Green, Riverside Playing Field, Millennium Green, Centenary Wood, and the MUGA and skate park facilities.  The Town Council owns the Brook Street bowling green, library building, Stotfold Football Club ground.  Services provided in the office, experienced and qualified staff, contact point for the public with Central Bedfordshire Council, police, Citizens Advice Bureau, and general enquiries and concerns.

As Central Bedfordshire Council statutory planning consultees, the Town Council's Planning Committee has considered every planning application relating to Fairfield Park.  For each application Central Bedfordshire Council notifies adjacent neighbours that the Town Council will be making comment and that copies of plans are available for inspection at the Town Council offices.  The Town Council welcomes public participation in the planning process by either sending your comments in writing to the Council or coming to the meeting and speaking directly to Councillors.  All comments are taken into consideration by the Planning Committee in making its observations to Central Beds Planning.  In particular, with regard to the recent applications for the West Orchard site, the Committee made robust comments in opposition to the applicant's plans.  We brought to the attention of current Planning Officers the proof of evidence from a former Planning Officer to the Planning Inspector that there is a clear long-term intention from the Planning Authority to protect the setting of the Listed Building at Fairfield in perpetuity.  This is containted in a legal agreement between the developers (and their successors) and the former Mid Beds District Council (and their successors).

Local community grants from the Town Council are available for any organisation to apply for, and the only grants that have been applied for the Fairfield area of Stotfold are one from the Fairfield Bowls Club, one from the Fairfield Hall Residents Association and one from the Fairfield Park Community Hall Group.

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Future infrastructure implications for Stotfold

The Central Bedfordshire Council Core Strategy and Development Management Policies document notes that Stotfold has relatively poor levels of local service provision.  In terms of population, Stotfold (including Fairfield Park) is projected to have the second-largest population in the Mid Bedfordshire area (Central Beds North).  To improve sustainability and self-sufficiency for Stotfold, increased and improved service provision has therefore been planned in for Stotfold, with the vision being to provide new employment opportunities and an increase in local shops and services, improved green infrastructure, library, community, youth and health facilities, additional allotments, recreational open space and facilities and cemetery space.

Any reduction in the population of Stotfold may consequently have a detrimental impact on the facilities and services for the town, resulting in a reduced provision of much needed infrastructure.

Boundary to the proposed Fairfield Council area

A Councillor was concerned that the boundary shown in the submission covered too great an area of Stotfold. The Planning Inspector had determined that Fairfield Park should be contained within its tree and hedge line boundary. It was advocated that this should remain as the boundary to the Fairfield Community Council, if Central Bedfordshire Council decides to create it.


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Responding to the Review

After debate at a Special Town Council meeting on Thursday 8th September 2011, Members voted and it was resolved that this Council does not support the formation of a new Fairfield Community Council.

The Town Council has prepared this leaflet to explain the Council's views and the impact the formation of a new separate Council for Fairfield could have for all Stotfold residents.

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