Councillor Coole submitted a question asking “Andover Special Expenses Levy Urban Parks and Open Spaces Service. Could you please provide the list (with locations) of the land included in the Urban Parks and Open Spaces Service?”
The Deputy Leader responded that the Head of Finance had provided Councillor Coole with details of the calculation of the Andover Levy and had met with him to discuss its calculation. The Council’s Environmental Services undertook maintenance in all parks and open spaces. There was no specific list of land associated with the Levy. The Deputy Leader advised that the Council’s focus was currently on supporting and helping communities to recover from the significant impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. When time was available, a list of the full parcels of land that maybe maintained beyond the parks and playgrounds would provide to the Andover Town Council Clerk.
Councillor Coole submitted a question asking“Andover Special Expenses Levy Grounds Maintenance Service. Could you please provide the list (with locations) of the land maintained under the Grounds Maintenance Service?”
The Deputy Leader advised that his response to the question was the same as for the previous question.
Councillor Coole asked a supplemental question enquiring as to how the Council was able to charge for grounds maintenance if it was not aware of which areas were being maintained as part of the Andover Special Expenses Levy?
The Deputy Leader responded that the information requested required a detailed piece of work to be carried out which was not able to happen at present due to Covid-19 as previously mentioned. A list would be provided at a future point.
Councillor Coole submitted a question asking “Andover Special Expenses Levy Asset Valuation. Could you please provide a valuation list of the buildings (public halls, sports pavilions, etc) and land (playgrounds, sport fields, urban parks, cemeteries, open spaces, and any other land maintained under the Grounds Maintenance Service), which is included in the Andover Special Expenses Levy?”
The Deputy Leader confirmed that no assets were charged to the Andover Special Expenses Levy. The Levy contained only revenue costs not capital. The Borough Council had no intention of transferring or selling its Andover assets and would continue to hold them in trust for the enjoyment of Andover residents.
Councillor Coole asked a supplemental question asking that as residents were required to pay the additional levy, was it not morally wrong of the Council not to include the assets as part of the Levy?
The Deputy Leader responded that it was not morally wrong because the assets associated with the Andover Levy were transferred from the Andover District Council during local government reorganisation. The Levy covered the costs of maintenance that would in normal circumstances be met by a parish level authority and there were many examples across the Borough of parishes paying for the maintenance of land, the asset of which was held by the Borough.
Councillor Celia Dowden submitted a question asking “The council will have suffered loss of income from parking, rent and other sources during this unprecedented pandemic crisis and will have incurred additional costs including paying out government mandated grants some of which might be reimbursed. What impact is this expected to have on our financial expectations for this year?”
The Finance Portfolio Holder responded that she would be giving a presentation to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the financial implications of the Covid-19 response at its meeting on 22 July. The Portfolio Holder would also be attending the OSCOM Budget Panel meeting on 29 June where the Head of Finance would be presenting details of the financial returns made to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and to discuss the scale of the impact being experienced by the Council.
Councillor Celia Dowden asked a supplemental question to request that at the Portfolio Holders presentation to OSCOM in July, details of the impact on the value of the Council’s property holdings be included.
The Finance Portfolio Holder responded that she would look to include this information where possible in her presentation to OSCOM in July.
Councillor Parker submitted a question asking “On 28 May 2020 the government issued the annual Heatwave Plan for England which has been updated to provide advice and guidance for coping with a heatwave whilst still suffering from COVID-19. Could you please advise me what actions the Local Resilience Forum has planned in order to communicate this advice to the public and care homes and what role TVBC is expected to play?”
The Leader responded that the Heatwave Plan for England was published annually by the Department for Health. The Plan aimed to prepare for, alert people to, and prevent, the major avoidable effects on health during periods of severe heat in England. The role of the Local Resilience Forum was to ensure that its member organisations were aware of the Plan and the possible need to use existing communication channels to warn the public when very warm weather was due. The Council would direct residents to appropriate warning messages and guidance should the need arise.
Councillor Parker asked a supplemental question enquiring as to whether the Council would be issuing specific advice to community resilience groups given the current circumstances recommending that they prepared for a possible heatwave.
The Leader responded that the Council would be guided by the Local Resilience Forum as to the appropriate time to disseminate information and provide any guidance and advice to community resilience groups across the Borough.
Councillor Parker submitted a question asking “We rely on and encourage many voluntary and charitable groups to support the community across Test Valley. During this period of lockdown many will have had to stand down their volunteers and will have lost income as a result of having to cease trading or running fundraising events. Do we know which organisations will struggle to recover?”
The Community and Leisure Portfolio Holder responded that the strength of the voluntary and charity sector in Test Valley had been at the heart of the Council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic in Test Valley.
The Council was very supportive of the charity and voluntary sector with the community impact and supporting community groups being a key work stream in the Council’s recovery plan. The Council would continue to work with community groups to understand the impact on them provide support.
One of the areas where the Council had been able to help sustain the sector was in paying business support grants to local associations and businesses. The Portfolio Holder encouraged all local voluntary and charitable groups with ongoing property-related costs to check the Council’s website for advice on eligibility and to make an application to the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund scheme which was open for applications until Sunday 21st June