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Councillor: 'Wycombe asset stripping is subsiding the district'
5:30pm Sunday 21st October 2012 in News
A COUNCILLOR has scoffed at suggestions rural residents subsidise High Wycombe - and says it is actually the opposite.
Councillor Trevor Snaith says the ‘systematic asset stripping’ of Wycombe’s assets is in fact subsidising the rest of the district.
He said the income from the sales of Bassetsbury Manor and ‘numerous pieces of land’ was being used by Wycombe District Council’s ‘rural Cabinet members’ to fund “pet projects” and keep council tax down, instead of reinvesting the money back into Wycombe.
But Cllr Snaith’s claims were rebuffed by WDC’s Cabinet member for finance, Cllr Roger Wilson.
Wycombe does not have its own council, only a committee which is connected to the district council. Cllr Hall believes this is “immoral”.
Cllr Snaith said: “If we were to drill into this, we will find the High Wycombe un-parished wards are subsidising the council tax of the entire district and, in addition, the council’s pet projects.
“WDC earns over £4m each year from rentals, of which about 90 percent comes from properties and land within the unparished town wards.
“The council has potentially earned over £20m in the last eight to ten years from selling off our heritage. Our assets are being systematically stripped.
“It is blatantly obvious from the dire state of Wycombe that those proceeds haven’t been spent on improving the town for the benefits of town residents.
“WDC is run by a rural centric cabinet that demonstrate little concern for the state of our town and would rather sell off our assets to subsidise council tax or pet projects.”
Cllr Snaith is once again calling for the High Wycombe Town Committee to be replaced by a town council.
“A High Wycombe Town Council would be the grass roots of our democracy and the first tier of local government. It would be able to represent the concerns and aspirations of our town and community.”
Cllr Roger Wilson has hit back at Cllr Snaith’s comments.
He said the authority could not sell assets and use the revenue to prop up council tax rates as the money goes back into the capital pot to be reinvested into new projects.
Cllr Wilson added: “We are members of the Cabinet of Wycombe District Council, we look after the whole district – that includes Wycombe, Marlow, Risborough or wherever.
“The only ‘pet project’ I can think he’s talking about is the new sports centre, which is for the whole community but is by in large in Wycombe and would probably benefit Wycombe more than anywhere else.”