Westbury Town Council has agreed to increase its precept in line with inflation as it prepares to take over more services from Wiltshire Council.

People in the town will see an increase of 2.3 per cent, the equivalent of 5p extra a week, to the town council’s part of council tax for a band D home.

Significant extra services, such as street cleaning and playgrounds, are expected to be taken over by the town council from Wiltshire Council by 2020.

Councillors said the rise in the precept will contribute to savings to pay for the extra maintenance work.

Westbury Town Council currently has around £150k in reserves in preparation for when services such as grass cutting, park maintenance and cleaning become its responsibility from Wiltshire Council.

Westbury mayor Ian Cunningham said: “I am concerned and we are aware of significant delegation coming our way. We have to increase the precept so we can pay for it but Wiltshire Council keeps moving the goal posts. Now the date estimated for devolution has been moved forward to 2020. I fear the economy is about to go through a horrible phase and we should not put up the precept by more then inflation. It is hard for us to keep rising the precept in anticipation but if you look at the kind of figures to run these services, they can be as much as £200k, so our £150k can go very quickly.”

Cllr Mike Kettlety said: “Families are in a difficult financial situation and we should all be aware there are families in Westbury who rely on food banks. We have to bear this in mind when we raise our precepts. Having said that, there is a need.”

Wiltshire Council plans to devolve services across the county and stated:“the devolution of assets to local communities, makes a significant contribution towards enabling them to be stronger, more resilient and sustainable.”

In other towns, councils have already begun taking over services and residents face larger council tax increases.

Chippenham agreed to put precepts up by 37.5 per cent, or an increase of £65.41 a year for an average Band D household, as it starts to take on the running of markets, freehold buildings and litter picking.