It has now been announced that a number of local Chells Manor residents have won their battle with the Valuations Office Agency (VOA) over the banding of their homes for council tax purposes.
In June 2008, about 400 residents of Chells Manor received revaluation notices for their properties. About 350 of these increased the banding of the properties and meant that residents had to pay increased Council Tax – up to about £40 a month. A large number of these residents contacted the local Liberal Democrat councillors for Manor ward for help.
The borough councillors for Manor ward (which includes Chells Manor) are Lis Knight, Graham Snell and Robin Parker (who is also the county councillor for Chells).
Although banding decisions are not the responsibility of any council, but are determined by the St. Albans office of the VOA, Lis, Robin and Graham gave advice and assistance to these residents, including home visits and the delivery of an information newsletter explaining the situation. They also organised a very well attended public meeting at Lodge Farm School on 10 July, at which officials and Robin Parker spoke and local residents were able to make points and have questions answered.
Essentially, the revaluations were the results of the shambles in 1991, when the Conservative government hastily abolished the Poll Tax and replaced it with the Council Tax system, and revaluations were not done properly.
Commented Robin Parker:
I said at the time that the shambles would come home to roost in the future, and so it has turned out. Liberal Democrats want to get rid of Council Tax, which is an unfair tax because it takes no account of ability to pay and is based only on the size of a property. Liberal Democrats want to replace it with a fair local tax based on ability to pay.
We re all very pleased for the local residents who have won their appeals and are glad that we were able to assist them in their fight for fair treatment.