LUDLOW Town Council is looking at taking on additional services.

This is given as the reason for an increase of nearly 20 per cent in the precept that it collects from people living in the town.

Unitary and District Council’s have a cap on the level of increase it can impose without a referendum that is set at two per cent. However, Town and Parish Councils are exempt from this requirement.

As from April a typical band D property will pay £159.11 a year to the Town Council, an increase of £27 a year.

This is separate to the money paid to Shropshire Council and to the police and fire authorities.

In the coming year the Town Council that employs 20 full and part time members of staff expects to spend £862,549 of which £545,166 will come from local Council tax payers.

The remainder will come from other income such as the money that the Council gets from running the market.

Last year the Town Council undertook a public consultation about future plans in which is says more than 600 people took part with nearly 70 per cent saying that the Town Council should try to take on some of the services being cut my Shropshire Council.

Ludlow Town Council and Shropshire Council are involved in talks regarding the Town Council taking on and maintaining 12 recreation grounds and play areas in Ludlow.

The new budget includes the funding of this.

Ludlow Town Council is responsible for a range of activities around the town.

It runs the award winning market and has oversight of street trading and issues the licenses to people who sell around the town centre.

Ludlow Town Council also runs the public toilets in the town that it took over from Shropshire Council. It was responsible for introducing charging to use the conveniences and uses the revenue to help to improve the facilities and to pay for cleaning.

The Town Council also organises the Civic Events throughout the year and supports the successful Ludlow in Bloom initiative both with a grant and also with its workforce.

Ludlow Town Council has been involved in the organisation of public meetings to discuss issues including the future of Ludlow Hospital and the provision of other health services.

The award winning Ludlow Museum at the historic Buttercross is also run by the Town Council.

However, with cutbacks to services provided by Shropshire Council there has been pressure for the town council to step in.

This includes the operation of youth services in the town and also the operation of the Tourist Information Centre.

It has also been suggested that Shropshire Council hand over the operation of car parks in the town to Ludlow Town Council.

However, if the Town Council is to operate additional services it would require significant extra money from Council Tax payers.

There would also need to be additional staff with specialist expertise employed by the Town Council.