MIDDLEWICH has the second highest parish council precepts in the east Cheshire borough.

The town council precept for the 2017/18 budget has seen more than £16,000 increased to a total amount of £414,000 to fund Middlewich Town Council (MTC).

Residents are now required to pay £86.95 in parish tax per band D property, on top of council tax with the Cheshire East Council, for the forthcoming financial year.

Consecutive budget increases have left Middlewich residents with a 30 per cent rise in the amount payable to the MTC, despite their holding of reserves at near 50 per cent of the annual budget.

Most councils have reserves around 10-15 per cent, and a motion by Labour town councillor Mike Hunter to use £20,000 of the MTC's reserves was amended down to £10,000, reducing the cost to the taxpayer.

Cllr Hunter said: “The public feel they are not being involved in the decision making process.

“The council leaders need to justify where this money is going and what they are going to spend.

“There are a lot of people in the town that are just seeing prices and precepts going up.”

The MTC budget statement outlines that the rise represents good value for money for residents, businesses, stakeholders and the council itself.

At the average cost of £86.95, members of the community pay for various events over the year, retaining of the Victoria Building, keeping open the Southway toilets and support of the Allotments.

Middlewich First Cllr Bernice Walmsley said: "Central government funding cuts have resulted in a shortfall in Middlewich Town Council’s budget which we have worked hard to make up for in terms of reducing our spending wherever possible."