Northampton

Residents of Desborough vote in parish poll

The poll

A parish which increased its share of council tax by more than 400% is facing a "no confidence" poll from residents.

The vote was called after Desborough Town Council increased its annual tax levy from £19.10 to £96.98 per year.

The council said the money was needed to build a "wonderful Desborough", but more than 200 residents backed calls for the no confidence poll.

Polling stations will open at 16:00 BST and close at 21:00

The poll will also asks voters if they would like more consultation on tax bills.

Image caption A call for a no confidence poll was made at a public meeting

Polling stations will open at Loatlands Primary School, Desborough Leisure Centre and St Giles Church Community Centre.

Kevin O'Brien, who proposed the motion, said he would like the poll to lead to more consultation between the town council and Desborough's 10,700 residents.

But the council chair said the money was needed to be used for projects such as improving the car park in the town, making the council office chamber meet health and safety regulations and building a "multi-wheeled sports facility".

In a three-page statement posted online, council chairman Allan Matthews used quotes from Anne Frank, Barak Obama and Noel Coward to explain why the council needed the money.

One section read: "The town council has begun breaking out of its chrysalis. This is a Progressive Council (sic). This is a council determined to improve the town for everyone, not just a few."

The statement also said the council clerk's pay is not for the public to know.

It read: "Would you want details of your contract of employment picked over like bones from a carcass by total strangers?

"For the clerk to have been put in the position where he has had to justify his employment is tantamount to bullying."

Desborough Town Council's clerk is set to have his hours and pay increased from £16,728 a year to £26,761, for a 30 hour week, according to the council budget.

Analysis by BBC News found thousands of parish and town councils in England increased their share of the annual bill, raising £18.9m in extra funds.

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