TVBC leader Cllr Ian Carr has responded to a call for his resignation by Cllr Tony Hooke stating “I assure you that I have no intention of doing so”.
Cllr Carr said he is proud to lead a Borough which continues to levy one of the lowest council taxes in England and exceeding the target of building affordable housing by 80 per cent with 360 completions last year.
A full transcript of the response is below.
Cllr Carr’s Letter
Dear Councillor Hooke,
You cite reasons why you feel that I should resign my position as Leader of Test Valley Borough Council. I assure you that I have no intention of doing so.
I am proud to lead a Borough which continues to levy one of the lowest council taxes in England and which in the last five year has saved over £6.5m in order to maintain front line services. We also have an enviable record of helping families by building affordable housing with 360 completions last year, exceeding the target by 80 per cent. We provide valuable support to business through the £500,000 Andover Skills Training Fund, retailer’s grants and other initiatives, which have seen us win Federation of Small Business Awards four years running. We have also introduced a new independent retailer grant of £1000 to encourage new traders to the town.
Your letter betrays a profound misunderstanding of local government and is riddled with errors. Like any member of the public, you are entitled to express your opinions but it is important to ensure that you do not mislead people. I would, therefore, like to emphasise the following:
- Test Valley Borough Council’s competency at financial management has been given a resounding endorsement by the independent District Auditor
- The Council is not “sitting on a reserve of approximately £75 million”
- You refer to the Council’s Finance Committee but the Council doesn’t even have such a committee
- Test Valley Borough Council has no responsibility for or authority over Andover Town Council
Finally, I understand that you have resigned from the Andover Summit action group to which you have been contributing. That Group has formulated proposals based on the views of yourself and others. They are now looking to you to deliver on some of those proposals in your role as county councillor – but you appear to be walking away. I am equally at a loss to understand your wholly negative comments about the Summit when the hard evidence demonstrates that, for example, footfall in the town on events days has increased by as much as 36 per cent. The objective of the Summit was, of course, to increase footfall to help stimulate economic activity.