Image of St Mary’s, Bepton courtesy of Simon Verrall
Bepton Parish Council has drawn up its Winter Plan, as required by the County Council. Although it would be pleasant to see some snow, let’s hope we don’t have to use the plan.
A copy of the plan is here: BPC Winter Emergency Plan 17-18
More eagle-eyed residents of Bepton will have spotted that Bepton’s share of the latest Council Tax bill increased by 29%. This is a large increase by any standards.
However, there is a straightforward answer to this. The Parish Council reduced its precept in 2016-17 from £4,500 to £3,700. We did this because we were conscious that we had a relatively healthy Reserve. However, it became clear to the Council that this may have been a little premature, given the increasing demands on the Council. The Council therefore reviewed the Precept against a background of an increase to the clerk’s salary, expenses and gratuity (the latter is in lieu of a pension); an increase in the donation to Bepton Parochial Church Council; and an increase in the amount set aside for grass mowing and other amenity work, because the County Council would no longer be undertaking small local amenity work.
The Precept breaks down as follows:
Band D 2017-18 Precept of £4,820 divided by Tax base 148.3 arrives at Band D equivalent of £32.50.
As a comparator , the previous year’s was :
Band D 2016-17 Precept of £3,700 divided by Tax base 146.8 arrives at Band D equivalent of £25.20.Bepton
Parts of Bepton struggle with receiving decent broadband speeds. But there may be good news for some. The Parish Council has been pressing BT and West Sussex County Council (WSCC) on how we might get faster broadband throughout the village. We have also taken it up with our MP Andrew Tyrie who, in turn has written to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sports as well as BT.
BT’s Community Fibre Initiative proved to be prohibitively expensive and we are no longer pursuing that. But a recent reply from WSCC suggests good news for some parts of the village. It seems that faster broadband is coming to Bepton, at least as far as Hencher’s Cottage.
WSCC have said:
“Currently the majority of properties in the parish are without access to ‘superfast’ broadband. Our information shows that of 174 premises, 121 do not get access to speeds of a minimum of 24mbps, whereas 53 already do.
As you may be aware we are working to provide 95% of the county with access to ‘superfast’ broadband by the end of 2017.
West Sussex County Council wants to push even further and provide ‘superfast’ broadband coverage to an extra 4,000 premises by the end of 2018. The engineering required is increasingly complex and expensive so we are being ambitious but believe this is achievable.
I can let you know that Bepton parish postcodes are included in BT’s delivery plans for the additional 4,000 premises and the earliest indication is that new broadband services will be able to be built in: GU29 0LR, 0LU,0LY, 0LZ, 0NA, 0NB, 9RD. It is planned that a new fibre cabinet will serve the area and we expect any new broadband services to be built by the end of 2018.
We expect around 70 premises to remain without ‘superfast’ broadband but we won’t know the full detail until detailed planning and engineering surveys are carried out by Openreach. However we do expect that properties in GU29 0HY will also continue to be without access to ‘basic’ broadband at speeds of 2mbps. These properties are eligible for the government’s ‘better broadband scheme’ for a subsidised installation of a satellite of wireless service. I’m attaching a WSCC guidelines PDF with more information that you may wish to share with residents. ”
So, good news for some. The Parish Council will continue to monitor this and report back via the website, newsletter and meetings.
Some 10 years ago, Bepton Parish Council published a village plan. Many of you will still have a hard copy. But for those who don’t, here’s an electronic version of the text Bepton Plan 2007. Unfortunately it doesn’t have the photographs, plans or maps.
The Parish Council will be discussing the plan at the next Parish Council meeting on 23rd March. It’s in the Park House at 7pm. Do come along.