Newport Pagnell Annual Town Council held its Annual Town Meeting at the United Reformed Church on 25th April 2013.
78 people attended the meeting which was hosted by the Town Mayor, Councillor Wendy Egan.
Cllr Egan explained the actions the Town Council has been undertaking in relation to financing the reduction of the grant funding from Milton Keynes Council for Middleton Pool. She explained that the Town Council is not “selling off” the pool. She went on to say, “We cannot continue to run the pool the way it is run now, so we are taking soundings from third party providers of leisure services to establish whether or not there is any interest in running this facility on our behalf.” The Council has examined a number of options, which include:
• a significant increases to charges for pool users
• a significant increase to the precept and ultimately your Council Tax
• running the pool through a Community Interest Company
• running the pool through a Charitable Trust • an expensive development of dry-side facilities to boost income
• running the pool via another leisure services provider
• handing the keys back to Milton Keynes Council
The Mayor stated that, “We are well aware of the possible effects of increasing charges or your council tax. It is likely that the charges would have to be increased to such an extent that we would lose too many customers. We have found some serious disadvantages in setting up a Community Interest Company and, to a lesser extent, a Charitable Trust. The cost of developing a suitable dry-side facility would prove excessive and the likely return on investment makes this option unaffordable. This leaves the last two options: either going to a third party leisure services provider or handing the keys back. If we do the latter, MK Council will look for a leisure service provider to run it. There are things to be gained from choosing the option of a third party service provider. Firstly, there is the possibility of financial restructuring which could go a long way to filling the deficit caused by the removal of the support grant. Secondly, a third party service provider would be able to bring some economies of scale to the operation which we simply do not have and thereby run it more cost-effectively. Thirdly, such a provider would probably have much greater influence in any purchasing negotiations which would ultimately benefit our users. No decision has yet been made and there is a huge amount of research to be done before reaching any conclusion.”
The pillars of change on which the Town Council vision will be built were also released at the Annual Town Meeting. These pillars are:
• Keeping and enhancing the vibrancy of the Town Centre
• Encouraging more and better events • Creating further off-street parking
• Developing the Town’s Heritage offerings
• Expanding leisure and sporting facilities in the town.
Residents were asked whether they agreed that these should be the main focus of the Town Council vision, and in general were highly supportive of these pillars. The Town Council now invites your comments on these.
A presentation on Aston Martin’s hundredth birthday was thoroughly enjoyed by all present. Councillor Barry went on to speak about the planning application for a retro-style garage at Woad Corner, which had experienced a number of difficulties in attaining planning permission. “We are a Town that is built on a motoring history,” he said. “This garage would be the first of its kind in Europe, and would attract visitors from outside the United Kingdom. It is such a shame it is experiencing difficulties getting off the ground.” Residents agreed that there was significant support for this and that they would like to see a meeting with Planning Officials at Milton Keynes Council going forward.
This year the Annual Town Award was presented to Brian Bailey for his work in raising money for various causes in and around Newport Pagnell. Brian has lived in the Town for over 60 years, and has worked tirelessly for different organizations and served on numerous committees. He also organizes coach outings for residents throughout the year, which are enjoyed by many people