Residents living in Scarborough town centre could soon find themselves having to pay a bit more in council tax under plans from the borough authority.
Scarborough Council’s cabinet is to explore the option of creating a parish council for the town centre wards.
Those in the centre of Scarborough currently do not pay a parish precept as part of their council tax, unlike ratepayers in Whitby, Filey and Scalby and the rest of the area.
However, cabinet members feel this is “unfair”.
If the plans are approved it would mean the creation of a council which would look after issues that could include toilets and local works.
It would also mean tax-payers would pay more each year as the new council would set its own rates alongside the ones residents currently pay to the borough council.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday last week, Whitby-based Councillor, Joe Plant, said: “Scarborough should have a parish precept as per other areas, to take over management of issues like other parishes.
“I’m saying that because more and more residents in my area are asking ‘why has Scarborough got no town council?’ Filey and Whitby have a town council, as well as the smaller parish councils around the borough.
“As you know, in this financial climate everyone is asked for contributions to fund schemes such as coastal defence.
“If we want extra salt bins the town councils or the parish councils have to ask for them or to fund them, and then they’re asked if they want to take over toilets, or contribute to the toilets.
“The list goes on.
“As Scarborough has no town council there is no-one to ask. I think, and many other residents around the borough think, it’s totally unfair.
“Asking [them] for funding or to run things when Scarborough town does not contribute to anything like [Whitby and Filey] have been asked to contribute.
“To do it the town and parish councils have to raise a precept, then residents in these areas have to pay as well for Scarborough, where is the fairness in this?”
He asked portfolio holder Cllr Sandra Turner to bring a report back to cabinet to see if there was a “fairer” way of moving forward.
Cllr Turner, who also represents a Whitby ward, said she “agreed with the points made” and said it was “very worthy” of officers time .
The proposal was also supported by Filey ward’s Cllr Mike Cockerill and independent Barrowcliff Councillor Bill Chatt, who said that Scarborough should be able to raise its own precepts to fund work it wants doing.
He added: “People might say it’s about trying to get more power but it’s not, it is about being fair-handed across the board.
“In these economic times, I think it’s only fair that Scarborough town, which has the largest population, would be able to contribute money if they had a parish council and I just think it would be a fairer way to move forward.”
Leader, Cllr Derek Bastiman, who represents Scalby ward, added: “It’s only right and proper, in my opinion, that there is [a parish council] as why should the rural parishes – and towns as well – why should they be expected to support development proposals, improvements, whatever, within the borough?
“We’ve said before it is double taxation.”
However, the plans have not been universally welcomed.
One Conservative councillor told The Scarborough News: “This has been tried before and roundly rejected so I don’t know why it would make any difference this time.
At a time when were are about to cut the number of borough councillors to 40 to save money I don’t understand why you would then want to create a new parish council with 15 to 20 members and all the costs and expenses or allowances that would follow.”
Labour leader Cllr Steve Siddons said he would need to see the details of any changes before the party decided if it was a cause of action worth taking.
He said: “Anything that leads to more openness and transparency should be welcomed but we really need to see the details of the plans and whether it is the best course of action for residents.