Historic Sheriff's horseback ride in Lichfield put under review

Lichfield’s historic Sheriff’s Ride is set to be reviewed and adapted in an effort to save money.

The Sheriff's Ride in Lichfield
The Sheriff's Ride in Lichfield

The annual event, which sees the civic representative mark the city’s boundary on horseback or by carriage, came under scrutiny as Lichfield City Council set its council tax precept this week.

Labour councillors Dave Robertson and Colin Ball had called for a freeze to the precept instead of the 2 per cent rise that was agreed on Monday.

“The increase is not needed and will hit family finances at the worst possible time,’ they said in a joint statement.

“Increasing council tax but keeping over £12,000 set aside for the Sheriff’s Ride is not the right decision.”

In response the Leader of Lichfield City Council, Conservative councillor Mark Warfield said: “We won’t be doing away with the event - however I don’t think it’s fully sustainable in its traditional form.

“Last year it was not very expensive - it was scaled down.

“We did have a Sheriff’s Ride banquet which everyone paid for - there were no freebies.

“We are going have consultants in to have a look at what we can do with the Sheriff’s Ride.

“£12,000 has been set aside but it may not be the amount spent on it.”

The Sheriff's Ride in Lichfield

Councillors Robertson and Ball said the council’s budget was ‘pessimistic' as it assumed no additional lettings of city council premises.

“The revenue reserve sits at over £700,000 - nine months of operating costs,” they said.

“Our funded proposals do not propose any further reductions in reserves, but these reserves will allow the council to be less pessimistic.”

Councillor Warfield said, however, that they were trying to make political capital out of ‘a very modest increase’ in the precept.

“For a Band D property it works out at an increase of £1.35 per year,” he said.

“If you take the ten payments of council tax that is a 13.5pence increase per council tax bill or around 2.5pence a week.

“As I said at the meeting if we don’t do this we could be in danger of the revenue budget not meeting expectations.”

Councillor Warfield said the council has obligations to meet staff pay increases and Guildhall lettings are down.

“When you look at the increase it is very modest and we did not have an increase last year.

“If you keep having a zero increase eventually reserves will dwindle away to nothing.”

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News