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Community cinema set to return, community grants and early talks over the council tax precept for 2023/24- Update from Henllys Community Council

henllys village hall
Henllys Village Hall (Photo: Cwmbran Life)

Henllys Community Council met last Monday with a number of items on the agenda.

Last month the council organised its first community cinema with a free showing of Lightyear in the village hall. The idea for a cinema came from asking residents who told councillors they wanted more community events. The first film was such as success that councillors are now looking to book in two new dates before Christmas.

The only sticking point is being able to match up a date when the hall is free with a date when they can hire the projector and screen from the community cinema organisation. Councillors have booked the hall for Friday 25 November and Friday 16 November and will check if the kit can be hired.

Cllr Lawrence Smith-Higgins said: “I think it was a success. When I took the kit back the lady in charge of the community cinemas network was impressed with the numbers.”

They discussed if it would be worth buying the kit themselves to avoid hire charges. This could also be used as an incentive for people hiring the hall as they could use the screen and speakers. An estimated cost of a package including a fold-up screen, Blu-ray player, projector and speakers was £1,688.

Cllr Valerie Waters said that the kit could mean the hall could attract more events such as talks for older people and maybe a historical society.

Councillors agreed to organising two more free cinema nights to see if the success continues before they decide if an investment in kit is value for money. They are also going to see if there are grants available.

Cllr Jonathan Lewis suggested a Facebook poll could be used to give residents a choice of some films.

Grants

Cwmbran Air Cadets Squadron applied for a grant for new snare drums for their marching band. Councillors agreed to give them £300. 

Council tax precept 2023/24

The main source of funding for community councils is the precept. This is a charge within your council tax bill that community councils ask councils to collect from residents on their behalf.

In 2022/23 the precept for Henllys Community Council was £33,275 so residents in Henllys paid towards this total through their council tax bills.

The 2022/23 Torfaen council tax leaflet said: “A precept is an annual sum that organisations like the police and community councils levy for their services and the council collects on their behalf.”

At Monday’s meeting councillors looked at an overview of the current budget and had a discussion over next year’s budget and precept.

Cllr Jonathan Lewis said they need to “firm up the projects” they want to do in 2023/24 by the end of this year to give a “more realistic view on what we can spend.” He added: “I don’t think we should be increasing expenditure, it’s not right.”

Adrian Isaacs, clerk to the community council, said: “I think we are in s strong financial position for next year. Have a think about what sort of things you would like to do next year.”

They were shown an example of how a 3% increase on their precept would mean a band D property in Henllys paying an extra 87p per year and give an extra £1,000 for the community council’s work.

Some of the items in their current budget include £3,500 for maintenance of Henllys Park, £5,000 for improvements/ repairs, £4,000 for community donations and £4,000 for community events.

Cllr Brenda Everett said: “We are clear on our financial position. Thanks to Adrian for his accountancy skills.” Cllr Smith-Higgins joked: “I think there is a place for him at number 11.”

Electoral changes

They had a short discussion on potential changes to the electoral wards. This could see some streets be moved in or out of Henllys Community Council’s ward. Councillors shared examples of some streets and even houses that residents thought were in Henllys but actually fell into Fairwater.

Torfaen Council is setting up a working group and the community council will be asked to contribute.

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Community cinema set to return, community grants and early talks over the council tax precept for 2023/24- Update from Henllys Community Council