It doesn’t matter how you vote - just vote!
PUBLISHED: 10:05 09 May 2012
Town poll to take place in Honiton tomorrow (Thursday, May 10)
The man who spearheaded a campaign to win a second town poll over Honiton Town Council’s £2.1million plan to build a community centre is urging all voters in Honiton to have their say tomorrow (Thursday).
Ken Sherman, chairman of the Northcote Lane Area Residents’ Association, is urging everyone who is entitled to take part in the poll to vote - between 4pm and 9pm.
Polling stations are at the Mackarness Hall, the Heathfield Inn and Meadow View Chapel - just turn up, as no polling cards are being issued.
Mr Sherman told the Midweek Herald: “I would like to call on everyone who is on the electoral roll to turn out and vote
“I do not ask you to vote for or against – just vote.
“Gentlemen, take your wife, partner or girlfriend out to vote and, maybe, on the way home drop in to your local hostelry for a wine and a pint with pleasant company and some light-hearted chat - but, please, after you have voted.”
The Herald has been inundated with letters from people for and against the community centre plan. Here is a selection of them. (See page 4 for more.)
I write as chairman of Honiton Town Council’s Community Complex Project Group about the main objections voiced against the establishment of the complex: location and finance.
After exhaustive searches, the Dowell Street site is the only one that’s both available and acquirable at little or no cost. It isn’t ideal - but it’s much better than nearly all the other options. If we let this opportunity pass us by, we could lose over £800,000 EDDC are holding for us specifically for a community centre - plus the value of the Dowell Street site.
Interest rates now are very low; so we can borrow cheaply at a fixed rate. If we have to wait another year or more to acquire another site, we’ll almost certainly be faced with higher interest rates as well as significant additional outlay on another site.
The project’s business plan has been scrutinised by our own advisers, independent business consultants, EDDC officers and members, and by the Government’s Public Works Loan Board. It’s been found to be financially sound, and it offers the prospect of generating a healthy surplus.
The average Honiton Town Council charge within the council tax for each household is just over £40 a year. This is between £7.50 and £20 lower than in three other towns in East Devon, and also lower than in several villages.
We don’t have to increase Honiton’s charge on the council tax to help with either the construction or the running of the complex, and we don’t plan to. Even so, we’ll give preferential hiring rates to Honiton-based organisations and private parties, and ticket discounts to Honiton residents.
I hope that with all that in mind Honiton council-tax payers will vote to move forward, rather than stand still .
Honiton Town Council
This week we are able to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the Honiton Town Council community complex scheme for a second time.
It’s a shame that there hasn’t been a choice to vote for a more affordable option.
If you use your vote to say ‘yes’ to the scheme, the council will continue with their plans which will result in serious long-term (40-50 years) financial difficulties for the town. However, if you vote ‘no,’ the council will still go ahead with these plans as they have already tried to ignore the first vote when the results were not in their favour.
If the last option becomes reality, we, as a town, would have at least let our councillors know of our dissatisfaction and their blatant ignorance for residents’ views.
An affordable option should be considered because, after all, community funding will still be in place for its original intended purpose.
As a relatively younger resident of Honiton (I’m 24), I would like to urge my generation to go out and vote in the town poll on Thursday, May 10.
In the last poll two years ago, only one out of 10 residents voted and this is such an important issue.
Therefore, I hope people of my age will vote at this poll.
I’m voting yes for a community centre, because I am confident it will be well-used by local groups and become a real positive focal point for our growing community.
I feel that Honiton having a community centre will be a real asset to the town due to a lack of facilities and, in response to the critics who say we do not need a community centre, I feel that the facilities the town does possess are rather rundown.
I’m looking forward to being able to attend events in Honiton in a modern facility, rather than having to go to Exeter or other towns and of course people will come into town too.
Those millions of pounds sound intimidating until you actually analyse them. Then you may be surprised. Spread over 50 years and a lot of taxpayers, the costs are startlingly low. The price to a council taxpayer works out at £5.50 per year.
That is not £5.50 per week or £5.50 per month - it is £5.50 over a whole year. It is less than the price of a packet of cigarettes, or a gallon of petrol. Spread over a year it comes to less than 11 pence per week. I was surprised, too, when I worked it out.
Margaret Mundie, Honiton
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