Wiltshire

Swindon votes for three new parish councils in town

Swindon town centre
Image caption People living in Swindon could face a rise in their council tax

Councillors in Swindon have voted to create three new parish councils in a bid save borough council funds.

The Conservative-run authority said it can no longer afford work such as street cleaning and grass cutting and this was one way of providing services.

Critics said the move could cost taxpayers an extra £75 a year as parish councils can raise their own taxes.

After Wednesday's cabinet vote, the decision will go to a full council vote next month before it can go ahead.

'Contempt for Swindon'

The new parish council areas are being described as West Swindon, North Central, and South Central.

Two existing parish councils, will have their boundaries adjusted to fit in with the plan.

Cabinet member for Communities, Mary Martin said they were facing "unprecedented budget pressures".

"That squeezes those important local services - street cleaning, grass cutting, looking after children's playgrounds.

"And what this provides us with is a mechanism to ring fence that money and provide that service in perpetuity," she added.

At the moment, 41% of Swindon households fall into 16 parished areas in the city.

Colin Doubleday, who runs a residents association in Swindon, said: "They really are showing they have a contempt for Swindon.

"They haven't asked us to have an opinion about how we solve what is a big problem, it's our problem how we pay for things going forward so they should be asking us, working with us and finding solutions."

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