Council tax in St Albans to rise for first time in nine years

PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 October 2017

St Albans council. Photo supplied by the council.

St Albans council. Photo supplied by the council.

Archant

A hike in the district’s share of council tax - the first in nine years - will help fund a new green technology enterprise zone, it has been revealed.

Also known as the enviro-tech enterprise zone, the initiative will go ahead next April at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, Building Research Establishment (BRE) near St Albans, and Marylands Avenue in Hemel Hempstead. It is intended that the zone will attract businesses focused on green technology and generate jobs, and firms relocating there will benefit from business rate relief and other incentives.

The zone is one of 13 projects in St Albans district council’s corporate plan for 2018-23, which also include the new museum and gallery, due to be opened next year.

Building more affordable homes in the district is another of the projects, as is coming up with a new Local Plan, after the previous one was rejected by the High Court, redeveloping a 7.5 acre site near the Alban Arena and improving the athletics track in Verulamium Park.

St Albans council (SADC) leader Alec Campbell said: “The corporate plan is a vital piece of work. It sets out how we propose to serve our residents, businesses, voluntary groups and other customers over the next five years.

“The new addition to our priority projects is the delivery, in association with our partners, of the new enviro-tech enterprise zone.”

To pay for these projects, £1m of savings have been identified, and SADC will also increase council tax by 1.6 per cent.

The overall figure for council tax will be announced in February once the police, parish and county councils have decided on their share, or precept.

A county council spokesperson said: “Herts county council will be publishing its draft budget for scrutiny by members in January 2018, ahead of the full council meeting when the budget is debated and voted on in February.

“The council tax for 2018/19, including any proposed rises and precepts, will be debated at the same meeting.”

BRE chief executive Dr Peter Bonfield said: “A couple of years ago BRE, Rothamsted Research, Oaklands College, University of Hertfordshire and St Albans council created the Green Triangle partnership.

“Our mission to establish Hertfordshire as a globally renowned centre of excellence in green technology.

“With fantastic support from the Hertforshire Local Enterprise Parnership in creating this bid we are now on a trajectory to achieve our ambition - great news for Hertfordshire, great news for the UK.”

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One of my favourite summer activities as a child was pond-dipping. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house with a fairly large pond in the garden and so my pond-dipping activities often extended over days and weren’t as much dipping as a thorough exploration of the life in the pond.

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