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Cllr: 'It costs more for parishes outside of High Wycombe'
A TOWN and district councillor has said it costs more for some Bucks residents to live outside of High Wycombe highlighting the disparity in who pays for lighting costs.
Cllr Gary Hall said taxpayers in villages and towns outside of High Wycombe are paying twofold for some services such as lighting.
He said Princes Risborough Town Council pays £60-£62,000 a year for 500 lights for footways.
While it was revealed High Wycombe spend just £8,900 on 59 lights in the town.
Cllr Hall said there must be thousands of streetlights which someone else is paying for, suggesting Buckinghamshire County Council.
Cllr Hall said: "The council tax in High Wycombe is being subsidised by the county council and everyone else. People are not happy about this."
The large ten and 12 metre lights on the main roads are paid for by the county across the district but there seems to be a disparity for lights in residential areas.
Lane End Parish Council paid approximately £27,000 to look after its 241 street lights within the parish from 2012 to 2013.
Hazlemere Parish Council spends more than £30,000 per year on lighting their streets.
Parish cllr Brian Mapletoft said: "They are not paying their full share. High Wycombe has many more lights- probably ten times as many lights."
He added: "Some of my colleagues, Lib Dems in Ryemead, would be entirely happy to have the responsibility of lighting High Wycombe and having them raise their own money because they would like a town council."
There has been arguments within the district council about whether there should be a town council rather than a town committee.
Cllr Hall said: "The way our three tier system has evolved hasn't evolved particularly fairly. As you see with high Wycombe they haven't paid for any of the services directly."
Spokesman for WDC, Catherine Spalton, said the town committee maintains 59 footway lights in the unparished area of High Wycombe, which costs £8,900, and is funded as a special expense on that area.
She added "Other footway lights are maintained by the county council and other landowners, such as Red Kite Community Housing."
Rosemary Bryant from Transport for Buckinghamshire said the county own and maintain approximately 29,600 street lights countywide and the 2012/13 maintenance budget is £2.3 million.
She added: "Other lighting does exist within the highway and this is classed as 'footway' lighting and is the responsibility of Parish, Town or District Councils who act as Local Lighting Authorities. The reason for this is historic .
"We believe that during the local government reforms in the early 1970s the provision of street lights in some areas of the county were transferred to the County Council and others remained with Parish, Town or District Councils. Amersham & Chesham are good examples of this. In Amersham street lights in residential areas are the responsibility of the Town Council whereas in Chesham the street lights in residential areas are the responsibility of the County Council."