Sophisticated data matching technology has been weeding out false claims for council tax discounts to protect public funds and to support the funding of key council services. The National Fraud Initiative (NFI), run by the Cabinet Office to compare computer records within local authorities, helps identify those who are wrongly claiming single person discount on their council tax as part of its work in preventing and detecting fraud. Last year Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council again stepped up efforts to identify fraudulent discounts using this intelligent data matching. This resulted in £65,422.64 being identified during a 2017/18 exercise as being fraudulently claimed from the council by 152 people claiming to live alone.
More government funding has been announced to help ensure that the right infrastructure is in place for Manydown and other new homes to be built in the west of Basingstoke in the future. An additional £695,000 ‘capacity funding’ was announced on Wednesday 13 February by Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP, bringing Government funding for work on more detailed planning for Manydown to over £2.7 million.
An online guide which aims to make visits to shops, restaurants, beauty spots and other venues stress-free for disabled people has been updated with the help of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. National disability organisation AccessAble, previously know as DisabledGo, works to provide detailed accurate information to allow somebody to work out if a venue is going to be accessible to them. The guides cover venues such as shops, cinemas, theatres, railway stations, hotels, universities and hospitals.
People looking to get on or move up the property ladder can find information and advice at a free Help to Buy event we're organising in association with Help to Buy South on Tuesday 21 February. Drop in to the council offices in London Road any time from 3pm to 8pm for help and advice on low cost homes to buy and schemes available, including the Government's Help to Buy and shared ownership schemes. https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/helptobuy
The Holocaust and other acts of genocide will be remembered in Basingstoke at a wreath-laying ceremony to mark UK Holocaust Memorial Day. The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Cllr Seán Keating will lead the ceremony on Monday 28 January at 10am at the War Memorial. Alongside Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Chief Executive Mel Barrett, he will lay a wreath at the memorial on behalf of the borough.
A total of 828 new homes were completed in the borough between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018 – the highest annual number built since 2009 – a new monitoring report has revealed. And, since 1 April 2018, a further 1,500 new homes are under construction.
Golden or diamond wedding anniversary couples in the borough are invited to join Basingstoke and Deane’s Mayor for a very special afternoon tea party. Delicate sandwiches, cakes and drinks will be served at the event, to be held on Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 February, for all married couples whose golden or diamond anniversary falls between Thursday 10 May 2018 and Thursday 9 May 2019.
A Faithless DJ set has been announced as the Saturday headliner for the 2019 B LOVE weekend. As the musical force behind the iconic group, Sister Bliss will perform on Saturday night playing Faithless’ top hits. Sister Bliss has become a firm festival favourite, performing sets across the world including Bestival.
Get the new year off to a running start by getting fit in the fresh air. A pair of 10-week programmes aimed at taking you from walking to running comfortably and confidently are now open for people to sign up.
A new Executive Director of Finance and Resources – Sue Cuerden - is set to join the council at a key time when it is investing in the successful future of the borough, as well as focusing on getting good value for residents. Sue was appointed to the post after the retirement of Kevin Jaquest. The role is a key one for the council, which was named as one of the most financially resilient in the country, as the holder of the post is legally responsible for ensuring the council’s financial stability and that money is spent wisely.
New planning guidance has been approved to give extra protection to the green spaces, beautiful countryside and wildlife habitats that make the borough such a great place to live. The Landscape, Biodiversity and Trees Supplementary Planning Document, which was adopted at a meeting of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council on Thursday 13 December, will be used to advise planning applicants and to determine applications, identifying how developments should be designed to protect and enhance the natural environment.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been named as one of the top 20 councils to meet the government’s public sector apprenticeship target in 2017/18. A total of 19 people started apprenticeships at the council during 2017/18 – including seven new apprentices specialising in customer services, housing, parks and streetscene, project management, human resources, democratic services and corporate communications.
It will be game, set and match for two popular Basingstoke tennis centres when much-needed improvements are made with funding support from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. New changing room facilities and two electronic shutters will help modernise the John Arlott Pavilion linked to the Basingstoke Indoor Tennis Centre, managed by Totally Tennis in War Memorial Park. Funding has also been allocated for preliminary surveys into providing a major upgrade to tennis court facilities at Stratton Park in Kempshott.
Festive fundraisers hit the high notes to boost three local charities supported by the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane at his Christmas carol service. The family-friendly seasonal event, held at St Josephs Catholic Church in South Ham on Sunday 9 December, was packed with local people of all ages who were welcomed by the Mayor Cllr Seán Keating and Mayoress Mrs Gwen Keating. More than £1,000 was generously donated to the Mayor’s Charity Appeal 2018/19, which is raising money for three local charities - Basingstoke Mencap, Naomi House & Jacksplace and Basingstoke NeighbourCare.
People are being asked to have their say on planning guidance relating to the borough’s historic environment. Protecting and maintaining Basingstoke and Deane’s historic environment is important and the council plays a key role in conserving the borough’s heritage assets, which include conservation areas and listed buildings. A consultation on this draft Heritage Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) is now open for people to give their feedback.
The free hour’s parking in borough council-run car parks in the town centre is set to continue next year, alongside a freeze in daytime short stay parking charges. This month, the council’s Cabinet agreed proposals for fees and charges for paid-for council services from April 2019, as part of a budget consultation.
The Real Change Not Loose Change campaign has raised over £40,000 since 2016 to help keep homeless people off the cold streets of Basingstoke and Deane. This year the Social Inclusion Partnership, which brings together a range of specialist, voluntary, statutory, faith and community groups all working to reduce homelessness in the borough together, is building on the commitment shown by local people, businesses and organisations by launching a year-round initiative to support rough sleepers.
Major changes to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, scheduled for next year, are being delayed after an administrative error by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England during the consultation on new wards. The number of councillors was set to reduce from 60 to 54 after redrawing the ward boundaries as part of the commission’s electoral review of the borough. This would have meant all-out council elections in May 2019.
Together with Hampshire County Council, we’re asking for views on travel and transport within Basingstoke, including which types of measures should be prioritised to improve movement throughout the town. Over the past decade the two councils, working with key partners, have introduced changes to transport, including significant improvements at key junctions. However, as Basingstoke continues to grow and evolve, further improvements are needed to ensure that the right travel and transport infrastructure is in place. Your feedback will help to inform a new Transport Strategy for Basingstoke.