Cheadle Town Council is set to refuse Cheadle Carnival’s community grant application request for £5,000 ahead of the new financial year in April. Councillors met at a committees meeting on Monday (December 6) to discuss its draft budget and grants for the next financial year.
Cheadle Town Council is set to refuse Cheadle Carnival’s community grant application request for £5,000 ahead of the new financial year in April.
Councillors met at a committees meeting on Monday (December 6) to discuss its draft budget and grants for the next financial year.
Members discussed various grant applications from a number of community groups, including the Cheadle Carnival, voting on whether to set them for approval or refusal.
These decisions are not final until they have been ratified at the next full town council meeting on December 20.
The council approved a £5,000 grant for the carnival for the current financial year last December but the money was ultimately not released due to the event being cancelled for a second year.
When discussing the Carnival Committee’s application for next year, also for £5,000, councillors were told the community group had £30,000 in its reserves.
Some councillors were in favour of approving the application while others were concerned of the impact it would have on the council’s precept (their bill to council tax payers) in light of the funding it was giving out to groups this year.
Councillor Kate Martin said: “The Carnival will struggle to put an event on without support,” with Cllr Gary Bentley adding: “They’ve started this from nothing and have got to £30,000.
“It’s one of the main things people in the town look forward to, the carnival is so important to the people of Cheadle.”
Cllr Alan Thomas stated: “It’s difficult to talk against it. We as councillors have to spend accountably.
“We as a council support any sort of carnival but I’m not sure about giving £5,000 to top up the accounts, so to speak.”
Cllr Stephen Ellis added: “I support it. I know where cllr Thomas is coming from but some years when we have a wet weekend, funds dry up and they get very little at the gate.
“If that happens, and especially with people now being careful with mixing, that is going to be very difficult going forward.
“There may be lot of money in reserves but that will soon disappear. If we don’t put money in now, suddenly it will be £10,000 next year.”
He continued: “The point that worries me tonight is that the council seems to be the land of plenty – everybody (grant applicants) has had something extra.
“We’re giving out grants but then we’re going to clobber people with a big council tax rise.
“I support all causes, all are laudable, but we have probably spent £10-12,000 extra tonight and that’s a massive increase, so I’m really, really worried about that.”
Cheadle Town Mayor cllr Sue Walley concurred, saying: “I share Cllr Ellis’ concerns.
“We’re looking at providing a huge amount of money. Not everyone who pays council tax wants to support all of these things and the precept is going to be rocketing.
“I want to support everything, we all do, but at the end of the day we have got to balance the books.
“There will be people who are not going to be happy at all – it’s Christmas time, everyone wants to give, I know – but I am very worried.”
It was decided that a named vote should take place in regards to determining the outcome of the Cheadle Carnival grant application. Those who voted in favour of approving the grant application were councillors: Gary Bentley, Stephen Ellis, Jamie Evans, Kate Martin, Phil Routledge, Paulette Upton, and Elizabeth Whitehouse.
Those who voted in favour of refusing the grant application were councillors: Richard Alcock, Ron Locker, Dave Sargeant, Sue Walley, Nigel Wood, Ray Wood, Mark Staton, Stephen Haines and Dennis Wilson.
Cllrs Ian Plant and Alan Thomas abstained from voting while cllrs Greg Powell and Elizabeth Haines had sent in apologies for being unable to attend the meeting.
It means the application is up for refusal by nine votes to seven ahead of the full council meeting on December 20.
Speaking to the Times & Echo after the meeting, cllr Jamie Evans called the vote outcome “an absolute disgrace.”
He added: “For the last two years we’ve supported Cheadle Carnival and obviously they haven’t gone ahead (due to Covid-19).
“Now 2022 looks like the year where we’ll have the carnival back and we’re not supporting them.
“I can’t get my head around it. Do they not know the carnival man the road closures for us when it’s Remembrance Sunday?
“The Carnival do the Santa Sleigh which is for charity, they don’t make any money out of that.
“They hold all these events around the town and our own councillors can’t support it? It’s just not on.
“Last night (Monday), it proved that some of the councillors are so stuck in their ways they don’t want to move forward with Cheadle and they are making a mockery out of us that do.”
Cllr Ray Wood also spoke to the Times & Echo about the outcome of the vote. He said: “It’s a difficult decision, I didn’t like doing that last night (voting against the grant application).
“I do support the Carnival but having that much money in there, we’re trying to find the way of keeping the precept low.
“If things went wrong for the carnival, we are there to help them. We have helped them over the years and we still will do.
“There’s just such a vast amount of money in balances, they’ve got nearly £30,000 in there.
“I know it costs £31,000 to put on, but you just have to cut your cloth accordingly at the moment with things.
“As a councillor it was a hard decision to do that and I know some of us will get criticism but we’re trying to look over the town as a whole.
“We try and help everybody, and we have. Our job is to look over the money so that everybody gets something but we keep the precept low for the people.”
Cheadle Carnival declined to comment when approached by the Times & Echo.
At Monday’s meeting, councillors went on to further discuss the draft 2022/23 budget, with Finance and Resources Committee chair Dave Sargeant suggesting that the council try to limit the precept rise in accordance to the projected rate of inflation by the end of the year – 4.5 per cent.
After draft discussions and amendments on the proposed budget, the council learned that it would have to further reduce its forecast spending by just over £6,200 to meet its target with current costs incurring a 6.67 per cent precept rise.
Members decided to revisit these discussions at the next full council meeting once all amendment and budgeting proposals had been collated and put down on paper.
The budget is to be ratified at said full council meeting meaning that this precept percentage could rise albeit any precept has to be justified.
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