AMERSHAM faces a council tax hike as homeowners help foot the bill for Little Chalfont's move into parish council status.

Chiltern District Council's plan could mean the town and parish councils must impose a tax increase of more than 13 per cent for householders - a rise of more than £8 per year for a band D property.

Amersham Town Council Clerk Desmond Knowles said: "The increase is purely as a result of putting Little Chalfont Parish in."

Little Chalfont Parish Council will be formed by joining the existing Little Chalfont ward of Amersham Town Council with 400 properties in the northern part of the Chalfont St Giles parish. Its new parish status will take effect from April 1, 2007.

The district council is expected to set a budget for Little Chalfont Parish on February 27, and Amersham Town Council and Chalfont St Giles Parish Council must fund this by increasing its council tax precept.

The precept - the amount the councils require for running services and capital expenditures - was only set to rise by around five per cent in earlier budget discussions, according to councillor Richard Williams.

He said: "The extra eight or nine per cent is a direct result of the boundary changes. I've got a certain amount of sympathy for the people of Little Chalfont, but self determination comes at a price, and unfortunately the people of Amersham will pay it. When Little Chalfont Parish Council was first mooted it was assured there would be no increase in council tax. But unfortunately you can't run two councils for the price of one. I hope in an election year Amersham Town Council doesn't get blamed for the rise. I think we all know where the blame lies."

Cllr Vera Head thought the situation would be as clear as mud for residents. She said: "I think the Bucks Free Press will be getting letters from the confused' of Amersham."

CDC must now arrange the election of eight new Parish Councillors for Little Chalfont, scheduled for May 3, the same day as the District Council elections. Until then, the current District Councillors who represent the areas concerned will take their place.