2024/5 Budget

2024/25 Budget Update

Whitehouse Community Council has set its budget for 2024/25 at £206,634. This allocation encompasses both operational expenditures and investments in enhancing our community facilities. Notably, this represents an increase from the previous year’s budget of £128,993. The primary driver behind this increase stems from the inauguration of our latest community hub, The Hive. As a consequence, there has been a 43% rise in the precept collected by Milton Keynes City Council, as an integral component of your council tax statement. In cash terms, the actual charge varies per property dependent upon your council tax band. For an average home, in band D, the annual precept for Whitehouse Community Council has increased from £55.90 to £80.00. This is an increase of £24 a year, or 46p a week.

We thought very carefully before applying such a large increase in percentage terms. Our Budget Working Group proposed a budget to our December 2023 Council meeting, which was voted on by councillors and passed unanimously. We don’t expect such a large increase in future years due to the development growing which will spread the costs; for this year, we see this as an exceptional increase. In previous years, the services provided by Whitehouse Community Council have been very limited, which has allowed us to keep the precept low. For 2024/25, the opening of The Hive and the allotment site bring one-off costs for setting them up and new operating costs which we have not had to fund before. Sensibly, we are also increasing our general reserves from £30,000 to £58,000 to help us cope with any unexpected first year costs relating to these new facilities.

We compared our precept to other community, parish & town councils in Milton Keynes to ensure that our proposal was in line with other similar councils. We know that any increase in costs for our residents is unwelcome, although necessary if we want to have and maintain the community facilities that are coming on board. We will continue to work hard for our community, run our extremely popular community engagement activities, as well as bringing the much-needed community facilities online.

  1. Community Centre

The Hive will be a fabulous facility for Whitehouse residents. We’re excited to be opening a venue where local groups can provide services and activities for our residents. We expect The Hive to open in July 2024 and we will need to fit it out with furniture and equipment. There will be ongoing costs for utilities, cleaning, maintenance and several other services.

  1. Staff

We currently have one full-time member of staff who keeps Whitehouse Community Council running. As the community facilities come online, we have budgeted for some extra staffing to support with the running of these facilities. This covers payroll costs as well as other mandatory costs (e.g. tax, pensions, national insurance) related to employing staff. There will also be the requirement to purchase / lease equipment to support the maintenance of the development and this will include transport to enable staff to move around Whitehouse.

Whitehouse Community Councillors are unpaid volunteer roles.

  1. Community Engagement

We’re really proud of the community engagement programme we run for our residents. We are very aware that Whitehouse is a new development and running activities that bring residents together and help build a community is really important to us. In this coming year we will be running 5 events which will be open to all residents: D-Day 80, Summer Family Fun Day, Diwali & Bonfire night, Christmas, and Chinese New Year. We’re also running Summer Play sessions at Lady Margery’s Gorse, producing newsletters, and running litter picks.

  1. Operational Costs

We’re (finally) being handed a large allotment site, which will have some setup and maintenance costs. We are installing more public access defibrillators and providing twice-weekly emptying of dog waste bins around Whitehouse to help keep the area tidy. Our grit bins may need replenishing, dependent upon the weather this coming winter, so we have allowed for this. We have included some money to support Community Speedwatch initiatives as well.

  1. Landscaping Project

We have heard the frustrations of residents in relation to the condition of landscaping in Whitehouse. We have been holding the developers and Milton Keynes City Council to account for their respective areas of responsibility, with mixed success. We have commenced a project to assess the feasibility of Whitehouse Community Council taking on responsibility for the landscaping in Whitehouse and have allocated a modest budget to support this project in the upcoming year.

  1. Office Costs

The Hive will contain a small administration office for our Clerk and councillors to work from. There will be large setup costs (e.g. furniture & equipment), as well as the usual costs of running an office. We think this is really important to help make Whitehouse Community Council more accessible to residents.

  1. Administration & Governance

This covers insurance, storage (until we have The Hive to store council items) and training & statutory audit costs.

Now that you’re acquainted with the reasons behind the precept increase, I’m confident you’ll understand the complexities involved in managing a Community Council with its array of facilities and initial setup costs. It’s no small feat and certainly not inexpensive. However, if we aspire to foster a thriving community with well-kept amenities, these investments are imperative.

Thankfully, we’ve managed to maintain a notably low precept thus far, considering our status as a new development lacking community infrastructure. Nevertheless, as we embark on establishing and maintaining these much-needed facilities, it’s only natural that associated costs will arise.



Councillor Eileen Card

Chair of Whitehouse Community Council