Bristol

Stoke Lodge and The Common make parish status bid

A community in South Gloucestershire is bidding to become a parish so it can make sure taxes raised from its 900 households are only spent there.

Councillors say too much money raised in Stoke Lodge and The Common is spent in neighbouring Patchway.

A consultation has begun asking people if they want to become a new parish, join a neighbouring area or keep the status quo.

A final decision will be made by South Gloucestershire Council in May 2015.

A petition calling for a new parish council to be formed was signed by more than 500 people last year.

'Not lost out'

It said: "We believe that continuing as part of Patchway Town Council is not appropriate for us. We are distinct from the area on the west side of the A38 and we wish to run our own affairs."

"For many years people in Stoke Lodge and The Common have been unhappy that about 30% of the local precept raised here is spent in Patchway," said councillor Brian Hopkinson.

"It's a small area that wants representation for the money raised."

Of the 15 councillors elected to Patchway Town Council, three represent Stoke Lodge.

The parish bid has been opposed by Labour councillors on Patchway Town Council who believe it is politically motivated.

"How can it not be when following the last election the make-up of the council changed from Lib Dem led?" said Labour councillor Dave Tiley.

"The council managed to work together for a long time so this demand is new."

Mr Tiley accepted Stoke Lodge has more expensive properties and higher council tax bands so more money is raised there, which is then spent in Patchway on a needs basis, but he insisted Stoke Lodge has not lost out.

"No spending request (by Stoke Lodge) has ever been refused to the best of my knowledge," he said.

South Gloucestershire Council has said it would need to be satisfied that any new parish council would be large enough to be viable.

The consultation closing date is 12 November 2012.

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