Melksham Town Council’s share of council tax income is to increase by over 25 per cent, to make up for a reduction in county funding.

On Monday night the council voted by 12 to two, with one abstention, to increase its precept for the coming year.

It has been set at £371,110, which means the cost to a Band D property will increase by £17.08 per year, or £1.42 per month.

Last year the precept was increased by two per cent, after a three-year freeze.

The move comes as government funding cuts prompted Wiltshire Council to reduce its grant to town and parish councils by 35 per cent.

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Bruce Sanders said: “We looked at a root-and-branch review of the budget, and anything that could be saved, and what could be done in the future.

“This is the level of precept we have come to, and I hope the council will adopt it. It is a very large increase, but it’s an increase from a very low base.”

The increase will mean the council will receive a ‘windfall’ this year, along with additional funds it will receive for taking on responsibility for the town’s Luncheon Club during the construction of the new campus.

Councillor Jon Hubbard called for this money to be spent, rather than saved.

He said: “We should set a time limit that that money within the two years will be spent on improvements to the town council infrastructure, ideally the Assembly Hall, so we can go to the people of Melksham and say we haven’t stuck it in a bank account to gather dust, but we are investing it in the town.”

His amendment was approved, with a second proposal from Councillor Richard Wiltshire for a 10 per cent increase defeated.