PENARTH Town Council has agreed a seven per cent precept rise and its budget for the next financial year.

The recommendations were passed by councillors at full council last night (Wednesday, January 8).

The precept is the part of council tax that is payable directly to the town council, as opposed to the Vale council.

The annual town council precept has increased to £67.75 for a Band D household.

The increase in the council tax precept is equivalent to an extra £4.44 per year for a Band D property

As part of its budget, the council is planning significant revamps of West House, the cemetery and the Paget Rooms as well as taking out a long term lease on The Kymin.

Cllr Martin Turner, Conservative member for Plymouth ward said he was "disappointed" with what he saw as a budget that would be a "standstill" one for the council.

"We are doing as much this year as we plan to do next year. There has been a seven per cent increase and we are doing no more than we did last year."

Cllr Mike Cuddy, leader of the council, and Labour member for St Augustine's ward said: This is a new council. There is no lack of ambition but it takes time to roll ideas out and implement them.

"There is evidence in other material that there is planned ambition.

Cllr Turner went on to discuss the cemetery chapel, Kymin and West House, saying "nothing seems to have progressed" and added that the precept increase was in respect of material, staff and other costs.

But Cllr Cuddy responded that they had undertaken detailed investigations into the buildings and added: "We have prepared a timeline which will enable us to preserve them."

Cllr Ben Gray, Conservative member for Plymouth ward, said some of the language that has been used about what is going to be achieved has been a little "disingenuous."

"Nothing is going to change because of the (precept) increase. We need to engage with the people of Penarth. It is a bit cart before the horse."

He added that putting money in for a loan did not equal progress.

He also raised concerns that it hadn't been a mutual process with the last strategic review group taking place in November.

Cllr Yvonne Murphy, Labour member for St Augustine's ward asked they they hadn't chosen an earlier time to discuss this to which Cllr Gray responded that they had raised their concerns at the last council meeting.

Cllr Kathryn McCaffer, Conservative member for Plymouth ward, pointed out that the council had been under budget in relation to staff costs.

Cllr Turner added: "Ambition is there in words but not in figures. There have been a lot of changes since we discussed it in October and November.

Cllr Cuddy continued: "We hope we can move forward in a bipartisan manner. We have tried to accommodate uncertainties and respond to them.

The budget and precept rise was passed by nine votes to five.