Open spaces tax burden will fall on Lewes and Newhaven

Lewes District Council (LDC) voted shortly before Christmas, after a basic public consultation which was then discounted, to add an extra tax to the LDC portion of our council tax for all those people who live near “open spaces” such as parks, playing fields and playgrounds.

The burden of this tax is to fall on Lewes and Newhaven as these areas apparently have more of these facilities. The extra tax will start in April this year. This vote completely ignores the fact that we all already pay through general taxation for these “open spaces”, whether we use them or not.

As an example of the financial effect, for Lewes residents on Band D the LDC portion is currently £192.48 per year and the additional tax will be around £55.64, making an increase of almost 30 per cent. Newhaven is similarly affected.

I was appalled to hear of this increase at this time of economic restraint, and particularly in the way it has been brought in.

I also wonder what this change will lead to. Will we be charged extra in future years because there is a hospital in the town, dental clinics, shops, petrol stations, or because we live rurally?

An online petition has been set up on the East Sussex County petitions web site to ask LDC to re-examine the background and procedures leading up to the vote, and can be found at http://bit.ly/1mmDUQw

I therefore urge readers to sign this petition. Any person of voting age may do this. Our target is at least 750 signatures before 30 April 2014, so if you do sign, please let as many family, friends and neighbours know as well as we need every bit of support that we can get.

Ian Linton

Lewes