COLUMN: Making your taxes go as far as possible

Barugh Green village has its first Christmas lights. The switch-on took place at a special gathering at the primary school where Father Christmas paid a vist and the school choir sung carols
Barugh Green village has its first Christmas lights. The switch-on took place at a special gathering at the primary school where Father Christmas paid a vist and the school choir sung carols

With Christmas fast approaching, the district council takes great pleasure in making a significant contribution to the festive season wearing two hats – that of Scrooge and Santa Claus!

In these these cash-strapped times for local government, we make no apology for adopting a Scroogesque desire to make the 50p a day on average you pay in council tax for our services go as far as possible.

There are, of course, the statutory things that have to happen - like waste collection, affordable housing, dealing with homelessness and paying various benefits.

But we like to go the extra mile on your behalf by continuing to provide discretionary services such as our four leisure centres, markets, tourism promotion, public conveniences and the recent Matlock Bath Illuminations. So what’s in Santa’s sack for you from the district council this Christmas?

For the seventh consecutive year, it’s free to use our car parks across the Derbyshire Dales from 2pm throughout the whole of December - an initiative designed to boost our local shops and businesses. If you use your residents’ free parking pass - and we hope you do! - you can park for free 21 hours every day from 1 December.

Would we like parking to be free all the time? Of course we would - but the reality is that parking income plays an important part in helping us to maintain some of the excellent car parking, environmental and recreational services we provide for local people and visitors.

What else do we do at Christmas time?

We continue to collect your waste and recycling of course, and also support the Christmas markets in Matlock, Bakewell, Wirksworth and Ashbourne. We don’t make any charges for use of our land, and that’s a big contribution, for example, to the fabulous Matlock Victorian Christmas Market during the first week in December, which takes place in our Hall Leys Park. We hope it’s a big hit once again.

Recently we reviewed the number of events we enable every year and it comes close to a staggering 1,800! So keep using our recreation grounds, parks, pitches, greens, multi use games areas, lakes, car parks and rivers.

And please Shop Local this Christmas!

By Councillor Lewis Rose OBE