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Sheerness Community Governance Review

A 635-signature petition was handed to Swale Borough Council, asking for a town council to be setup for Sheerness. This has triggered a Community Governance Review. A Community Governance Review looks at the way in which individuals and groups within the community are listened to and able to influence decisions that affect them.

Councillors agreed the terms of reference for the review on the 13 December 2017 and a consultation with affected households and interested parties will take place in the New Year. The consultation will be considered by the council in March 2018 when it will be decided whether to set up a town council for Sheerness. If the council decides in favour, a further consultation will take place about what the town council would look like.

What is a town council?

A town council sits between the community and local government in this case, Swale Borough Council. It's made up of elected individuals who represent the community and is paid for by an increase in Council Tax.

Town Council's have the power to provide certain services. As well as supporting tourism, they can also contribute to the provision of services including:

Town Council's have powers under the Localism Act 2011 and can apply for loans and grants to support local issues. They're also consulted on planning applications that affect the area.

Who sets up the town council?

Swale Borough Council would set up any new town council. After that, the town council would be responsible for all their expenditure including the cost of offices, staffing and providing services.

What area would they cover?

Sheerness Town Council would be responsible for the area highlighted in blue on the map below.

Sheerness Governance Review for Sheerness Town Council map

How much would a town council cost?

Town council's are paid for by adding an additional charge to the council tax for each property in the affected area. This additional charge is known as a precept.

As an indication, the additional cost of existing town and parish councils in Swale currently ranges between £15.05 and £83.54 per year for a council tax band D property, which is an average of £40 per year, or 77 pence per week for each household. There are two town councils in the borough, Faversham and Queenborough, and the precepts for those are £53.06 for Faversham town council and £83.54 for Queenborough town council. 

The cost very much depends on the services that the town council wishes to provide. A full list of the precepts is shown below.

Parish/Town CouncilAdditional Council Tax per year for Band D 2017/18 (£)
Bapchild 23.81
Bobbing 19.95
Borden 47.81
Boughton-under-Blean 72.29
Bredgar 33.59
Doddington 37.96
Dunkirk 23.80
Eastchurch 40.94
Eastling 35.00
Faversham town council 53.06
Goodnestone & Graveney 33.20
Hartlip 20.74
Hernhill 31.71
Iwade 35.43
Leysdown 23.08
Lower Halstow 76.00
Luddenham 0
Lynsted 36.87
Milstead 60.25
Minster 27.61
Newington 52.53
Newnham 35.54
Norton & Buckland 32.00
Oare 50.93
Ospringe 26.05
Queenborough town council 83.54
Rodmersham 32.20
Selling 29.95
Sheldwich, Leaveland & Badlesmere 24.69
Stalisfield 26.01
Teynham 54.67
Throwley 22.64
Tonge 15.65
Tunstall 24.98
Upchurch 30.26
Warden 30.95

When would members be elected?

If a town council is set up, elections would be held in May 2019.

We want to know your views

Swale Borough Council is running a consultation between January and February 2018 to help decide if a town council is needed, and if the Council decides to go ahead with setting up a town council there will be a further consultation on what the town council would look like. The consultation asks ‘should Sheerness have a town council?'. 

Every elector is being sent a questionnaire but feedback from all is welcome. Information is also being sent to households where there are no electors. The deadline for responding is 2 March 2018

In addition, Swale Borough Council will also be holding a number of information sessions at Sheppey Gateway:

The full council will consider the consultation responses on 21 March 2018 and will decide whether to proceed with setting up a town council. There will be further consultation between April and May 2018 on the draft recommendations. Additional information will be added to the website at that time.

Council meeting

The full council considered the consultation responses on 21 March 2018 and agreed draft recommendations, for further consultation. You can view the minutes and agenda of that meeting here.

The second consultation will be going to electors around 19 April 2018, and there is an opportunity to comment on the draft recommendations until 21 May 2018. You can view a copy of the second consultation leaflet here.

A further report will be considered by the Council meeting on 13 June, when it will make a final decision on whether to set up a town council in Sheerness.


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