October 22 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Thaxted residents who were made temporarily homeless when flash floods ruined their properties will not have to pay Council Tax for the months they are living elsewhere.
Uttlesford District Council (UDC) will be offering up to 30 households either refunds if they have paid for the year, or if they pay their Council Tax monthly it will be halted for the time they are out of their homes.
Firefighters were inundated with calls when a thunderstorm hit the town last month in the early hours of the morning. Heavy rain caused flooding to homes, a primary school and caused a road to collapse. Some residents were forced out of their homes for weeks, whereas others could face up to six months away.
County councillor Robert Chambers, cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “We just thought about it and thought it was really an act of god, there was nothing these people could do.
“We did not think it was fair to charge them Council Tax when they are not there. Having had my own home flooded, I know what it is like. I did not have to decant but it is not very pleasant.”
He added: “Some of these people would have lost furniture and other items like that. With the money they are saving by not paying Council Tax they will be able to buy new pieces of furniture or spend it on what they like.”
The money will be taken from UDC’s reserves to cover the cost.
District councillor Martin Foley, member for Thaxted, welcomed the news and said he estimated the total damage to the town was in excess of £1million. He said: “I am delighted. These people have been through enough upset and it will continue until they are back in their homes. I think it is the least we can do and I shall look forward to it being confirmed.”
The decision is likely to be ratified in the coming weeks.