AN independent councillor is calling for a flat fee to be introduced for Cheshire East Council expenses after payments to councillors cost taxpayers £1.35million last year.

Clr David Brickhill is concerned that under the current system many of the borough’s elected representatives being paid more than double their basic allowance.

Most councillors are paid £11,199 but can be given substantial extra funds for ‘special responsibilities’ such as chairing meetings or being on the executive, board or cabinet of the authority.

Figures for payment of members’ allowances for April 2011 to March 2012 were leaked to the Guardian and will be officially released today, Wednesday.

Former council leader Wesley Fitzgerald topped the list with £41,644 claimed.

Clr Jamie Macrae, ward member for Mobberley, and Clr Roland Domleo both claimed more than £30,000.

Councillors Rachel Bailey, David Brown, Hilda Gaddum, Rod Menlove and Roger West all claimed more than £25,000.

More than £20,000 was claimed by borough mayor George Walton, from Chelford, Clr Gordon Baxendale, Clr Harold Davenport and council leader Michael Jones.

“Extra work should get extra pay but not more than half the basic allowance,” said Clr Brickhill, who claimed a total of £11,517.

Meanwhile, Clr Harold Davenport, chairman of the strategic planning board, claimed £738 for subsistence - more than all the other councillors put together.

He and Clr Jamie Macrae also top the list of travel expenses with more than £5,000 claimed.

“These two took more than 10 per cent of the total claimed by all councillors for travel.”

Clr Bill Livesey also claimed £4,091 in travel expenses with £1,188 in special allowances.

“I think we should ask these people how they justify claiming more than the £11,000 pay given to all councillors,” added Clr Brickhill.

Middlewich councillor Mike Parsons' total payment was £13,130.

Town mayor Simon McGrory claimed no expenses beyond the basic £11,199 allowance and Middlewich councillor Paul Edwards' payment was £16,800 - his basic allowance plus his special responsibility duties.

Cheshire East Council was still preparing its response as the Guardian went to press.