September 22, 2023
Wandsworth Council leader Simon Hogg has condemned proposals from the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators for significant rise in the levy they charge 28,000 Wandsworth households.
The conservators are planning a minimum 25 per cent rise in the bills they charge for maintaining their open spaces. They say these rises are necessary due to the increased costs of maintaining and repairing the commons.
Last year their average charge to local residents subject to the levy was just under £36. This would rise to at least £45 if their current plans proceed.
The council says the move undermines its attempts to shield residents from the increased cost-of-living by freezing its portion of Council Tax bills.
Simon Hogg said, “The scale of this proposed increase, coming after last year’s unreasonable rise of almost 13 per cent, is totally unacceptable.
“We froze council tax bills because we wanted to support our residents through the economic downturn. The Conservators did the opposite and are now looking to hit our residents with another unjustifiable increase in bills.
“We simply cannot and will not support another increase on that level.”
The levy is charged to households living close to Wimbledon Common and also those in the old parish of Putney and is collected through council tax bills. It is paid by residents living in the boroughs of Wandsworth, Merton and Kingston.
The Conservators refused to consider holding the rise of the levy below the rate of inflation in previous years despite pleas from both Merton and Wandsworth Councils. They said the ‘difficult decision’ to increase the charge by 12.6% in line with the rise in the RPI and the maximum allowable under the 1990 levy regulations was unavoidable.
If the proposed future increase is approved this will provide an extra £375,000 a year which the Conservators say will support the annual costs associated with the Commons’ Masterplan, balance WPCC’s operating budget, and finance works to buildings and the landscape that have been deferred due to budget constraints.
The Conservators are also organising a series of public meetings to provide an opportunity to meet the WPCC team, ask questions and learn more about the levy consultation. The consultation will close on 29 October.
A map of the levy area can be found below:
If you think that you live in the levy-paying area but have not received any documentation, e-mail email@example.com or telephone on 020 8788 7655.
A copy of the consultation document can be found here. Consultation Document
Opportunities to meet the WPCC team, ask questions and learn more about the levy and consultation will be held in the following locations:
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