Cllr Robert Saunders is supporting homelessness charity Shelter’s campaign that calls for a tax on developers who are “sitting on 60,000 stalled sites” with planning permission for housing across England.
Shelter said that levying a “stalled sites tax” on developers could result in “tens of thousands” of new homes being built in three to five years. It suggests that the Government should charge council tax on the number of homes that could have been built on a site if, after a “reasonable period of time”, a housebuilder had not begun construction.
Cllr Saunders “said there are numerous sites in Alton which have permission for development which include significant amounts of affordable housing. These sites have had planning permission for a long period and are an unsightly and wasteful blot on the landscape”.
Residents whose homes were flooded over the winter could receive help with their Council Tax.
Those affected by the floods should contact East Hampshire District Council to see if they qualify for up to three months’ exemption from paying Council Tax.
The Government has set aside money to go to residents whose homes have been blighted by the winter’s flooding, and the scheme is being run locally by EHDC.
Brian Wood, EHDC Revenues Manager, said: “We have already been contacted by several customers and have been able to help with their Council Tax.
“The scheme covers the period from 1 December 2013, so residents who were flooded over the Christmas and New Year period can apply, as can those residents affected by the most recent floods in February.”
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Conservatives on Alton Town Council have become the first parish to undertake a Neighbourhood Plan in East Hampshire. The Neighbourhood Plan Designation Order, setting out the boundary for the plan, is open for comments until Friday 7 March.
I urge all Alton residents to participate in the consultation process. For more information and to complete the residents questionnaire click here.
East Hampshire District Council has a limited stock of sandbags, but these are reserved for out of hours emergencies when dwellings are directly affected by floods. They will also prioritise the elderly or vulnerable. For more information click here
You can find helpful information on what to do prevent the risk of flooding and respond to incidents here.
Residents can now download bin collection calendars from the internet as part of a new method of distribution.
As well as downloading their calendar from the website www.working-together.org.uk residents can ring 0300 300 0013 (charged at the local rate) at any time and ask for a calendar to be posted to their address.
East Hampshire District Council will not be posting the calendars out to all households as in previous years but an A5 leaflet carrying information on the Xmas and New Year collections and how to get a calendar will be distributed to each property.
After Christmas residents can also put out real Christmas trees for collection with their garden waste sack or bin during January.
Cllr Robert Saunders has announced that he is standing for election as a Governor for East Hampshire on the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The theme of my campaign will be ’A promise of action on health inequalities’. You can find out more here
I welcome applications from local community groups for a share of my £3,000 devolved grant.
East Hampshire District Councillors have been given £3,000 each to spend within their communities.
The money can be used to support projects or plans that provide a valuable service to residents.
EHDC Leader, Councillor Ferris Cowper, said: “The Councillor Community Grant Scheme is intended to get funds directly to where it can do the most good, making use of councillors’ local knowledge and personal understanding of their community.”
The grants, limited to between £250 and £1,000, are only available to not-for-profit organisations running projects that benefit the community at large.
The projects must meet one or more special aims if it is to receive the funding. These include:
- Environmental benefits
- Healthier lifestyles and activities
- Support for disadvantaged people
- Supporting economic development
- Community engagement
- Capacity building
Cllr Cowper added: “Few people have a better understanding of a community than the councillor who serves it. This scheme gives councillors the means to help the projects that will provide the greatest benefit to their constituents.”
Support is available to help groups to develop project ideas and offer guidance on completing the application form. For more information contact John Geoghegan Tel. 01730 234184.
For further information or to make an application for a grant click here
Alton is to be part of a Speedwatch scheme that also includes Binsted, Beech and Four Marks. Each of the four councils is contributing £500 towards the purchase of the necessary equipment, with the Police contributing the rest.
As part of the scheme, volunteers are trained to use speed indicator devices which display vehicle speed.
This equipment should be available shortly and Alton Town Council is inviting anyone interested in becoming a Speedwatch volunteer to come to a meeting to find out more.
Chairman of the Town Council’s Planning and Transportation Committee, Cllr Matthew Bayliss, said “Speedwatch is about helping to educate motorists in relation to speeding around the town. There appears to be a good deal of local interest in the scheme and, by joining with other councils, we have been able to share the cost.”
The Speedwatch meeting takes place in at the Town Hall on 19 November at 6pm.
Alton Town Council has organised an open meeting for rail users to question managers from South West Trains and Network Rail.
The meeting will take place on Wednesday, 30th October at 7.30 p.m. at the Town Hall.
Cllr Robert Saunders said: “Each week, hundreds of Altonians, including me, board the train and commute up and down the line, and my postbag is never quiet on railway issues.