Opinion: Does Ashfield Council provide value for money?

One of the things I always get asked is ‘ do you think residents get value for money for their Council Tax in Ashfield’?
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This year, residents received their highest ever bills – this will go up about £100 a year when the Conservatives roll out their plans for a new Mayor.

A simple look at your Council Tax bill will show you that Ashfield Council only gets 9 per cent of your Council Tax.

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Nottinghamshire Council gets nearly 75.5 per cent and the rest goes to the police and fire and rescue authorities.

Coun Jason Zadrozny, leader of the Ashfield Independents, next to a dangerous pothole on High Pavement in Sutton.Coun Jason Zadrozny, leader of the Ashfield Independents, next to a dangerous pothole on High Pavement in Sutton.
Coun Jason Zadrozny, leader of the Ashfield Independents, next to a dangerous pothole on High Pavement in Sutton.

Despite this, Ashfield Council provides more than 25 per cent of services residents actually use as part of the 400 services we provide.

So the answer to whether residents get value for money is yes – for Ashfield, but not from Conservative-run Nottinghamshire County Council.

Let’s compare and contrast.

Ashfield Council, run by the Ashfield Independents, now has the best Council-run Leisure Facilities in the UK.

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We’ve transformed Lammas Leisure Centre in Sutton, Hucknall Leisure Centre is getting a new, extra pool and we are building a new, state-of-the-art one in Kirkby which will open in the summer, complete with swimming pools.

The Tories at County Hall are in charge of our broken roads and pavements.

You don’t need to travel far across Ashfield to know the state of our highways are the worst in England.

When Tour of Britain organisers were choosing locations for a leg of their world famous cycle race, they avoided Ashfield. Why? It would be like cycling on the moon.

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When the pandemic started in March 2020, the first thing Nottinghamshire Council did was close our tips and furlough staff.

Compare and contrast that with Ashfield – we pledged to deliver a full bin collection service come what may. We made a pledge and kept it.

We were the only council in the county to deliver a full bin collection service during successive Covid lockdowns. In fact, we did more – we enhanced it. We carried on with our flagship Spring Clean.

Only last month, Ashfield Independent councillors like Samantha Deakin, Andy Gascoyne, Arnie Hankin, Tom Hollis, Sarah Madigan, David Martin and Helen-Ann Smith helped council officers collect the equivalent weight of a Boeing 757 plane during three weekends of action. This was one of the reasons why reports of fly-tipping went down 23 per cent compared with last year.

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In Huthwaite, to save £30,000 a year, the Conservatives axed funding for All Saints Children’s Centre. Compare and contrast that to Ashfield, where the council has transformed our play parks.

Dozens of our parks have seen record funding. In the last few years alone, we have spent £5 million on our play parks – they are now tourist destinations where young people and families come from as far away as Gedling and Rushcliffe to use our parks.

This year, we are making a huge investment in Selston Country Park, to go with the new café which reopened last month.

Since the Ashfield Independents took over Ashfield, we have kept every single pledge we have made to residents. We are delivering a district that is safer, greener, cleaner and stronger – and, yes, value for money.

Does Nottinghamshire Council?. Just look at your broken roads and pavements and you’ll get your answer.