PEOPLE in Chipping Norton will be hit in the pocket by a town council decision to raise its precept by a massive 37 per cent.

Members have “reluctantly” but unanimously agreed to ask residents for more council tax.

It means households will have to shell out an extra £22 a year, with the Band D bill rising from £59.64 to £81.75 a year – an increase of £1.84 a month.

The increase means the town council will receive £201,785 from its taxpayers in 2014/15, compared to £150,000 in the current year.

The council says the increase will cover the cost of town hall repairs including a new boiler, interior and exterior repairs along with refurbishment of the town’s recreation grounds.

Members have allocated £25,000 into the recreation committee which will be used to smarten up recreation grounds including New Street, which would need about £125,000 to make it on par with similar facilities in Chadlington and Shiptonunder- Wychwood.

This is the first time in two years the town council has increased its precept and mayor Mike Tysoe said the decision was difficult but necessary.

“We’re only talking about less than £2 a house in Chipping Norton,” he said.

“It’s not a big deal. We went to two finance and general purposes committee meetings thinking about it.”

He said an increase had been considered for the last two years. Any increase is something we don’t do lightly but there are various reasons we have to do it.

“We’ve spent £20,000 on the town hall so far this financial year.

“A lot of people I’ve talked to about it in the town don’t know what all the fuss is about. It looks on paper a fairly big increase, but it’s £1.89 a month on average. It’s not enormous.”

Residents told the Journal they were not against the increase, so long as they see results for their hard-earned cash. Clare Mackintosh, of Wilcox Road, said: “It seems like quite a big percentage but really a couple of pounds a month shouldn’t make too much difference particularly if that money is being used to be reinvested in facilities for all of us to use.

“I’m a mum and the recreation ground in New Street is particularly awful.

“If they are going to raise it by that percentage, I would expect to see a tangible difference in facilities.”

Paul Aitkin, of the Leys, said: “I’m not against the extra expenditure but it needs to be carefully thought through so it’s not wasted.

“I’m happy to make a contribution but I’m not sure all households will be.”