Following the decision to create new councils to represent the people and communities of Lowestoft and Oulton Broad, the first ever elections are now only two months away.
With this in mind, special events have been organised for local residents to provide information on a range of topics including how to stand for election, how the councils will be funded, and what the new councils could bring to the area.
On Thursday 16th March, a drop-in event will take place at St. Mark’s Church in Oulton Broad from 12.30pm to 6pm, with information available specifically about the new parish councils. Following this, information will also be available at the Lowestoft Information Event on March 17th (1.30pm to 4.30pm) and 18th (10am to 4pm) at the old QD store in Lowestoft Britten Centre, which is promoting a number of activities and projects in the town.
Cllr Colin Law, Leader of Waveney District council, said:
“Town and parish councils play a vital role in supporting and enhancing a community’s identity, services and quality of life. And as well as being able to deliver a range of key local services, town and parish councils are also able to support events and initiatives which promote community spirit and inclusiveness, award funding grants to deserving causes or groups and invest in an area’s public spaces. This is an exciting time for local people.”
The new councils for Lowestoft and Oulton Broad will represent local people on local issues and will be responsible for some services and some assets in the area, like play areas and parks and gardens. In particular the new council for Lowestoft will be a large council with control over several important local assets, giving residents and the new council the power to make a difference in their local area.
In line with all other town and parish councils, the new councils will be funded by a contribution from each household in their area (called a ‘precept’) which is collected as part of the annual council tax bill each year. These contributions will create a ‘Neighbourhood Fund’, and this money is used by the town/parish council solely within their area for local issues. This allows decisions to be made by local people to decide the priorities for the local area and for money to be spent on the things that matter to them.
There are approximately 28,000 households in Lowestoft and Oulton Broad. Of those, 90% of properties in the Lowestoft area and 84% in Oulton Broad are in council tax bands A‐C. As an indicative figure, residents in band ‘B’ properties in Lowestoft will contribute £7.41 per month or £1.71 per week. This will fund the running of their new council, the delivery of some assets and services for their local area, and any other activities the new council decides to deliver. The amount each household contributes is dependent on their circumstances; around 7,000 households in bands A‐C are supported by the ‘Council Tax Reduction Scheme’ (CTRS) and receive a discount on their annual contribution, and other discounts are also available for things like single person occupancy.
Cllr Law added:
"The new councils will also be responsible for a mixture of income-generating assets as well as assets that require funding - along with a large collection of valuable artefacts and civic regalia - to create a balanced portfolio. The precept is a crucial part of that balance and the new councils will do everything possible to deliver value for money.”
The forthcoming events will also help local people to learn more about standing for election if they would like to represent their local area. New councillors for both Lowestoft and Oulton Broad will be chosen by residents in the area on 4th May and it is essential that local people stand as candidates to ensure that the councils are made up of people who truly understand the issues and priorities for the area. This is a unique and exciting opportunity for local residents to represent their local area.
There are no formal qualifications needed to stand for election however candidates must meet certain eligibility criteria. New councillors for Lowestoft and Oulton Broad will receive full training and support in their roles.
For more information about the new councils and details of the eligibility criteria for candidates standing for election, go to our dedicated web page.