The last ever Chiltern District Council (CDC) budget was approved last night – which included a 2.99 per cent increase in council tax.

Members gathered at the CDC offices in Amersham yesterday evening (February 26) where they unanimously backed the last budget before the all-encompassing unitary authority is launched next year.

A council tax increase of £5.42 for 2019/20 was agreed by councillors – the equivalent of 10p a week for the average band D home.

Addressing the council, leader Isobel Darby, said she is “proud” to pass on a “sound financial position” to the new unitary authority.

She said: “Whilst this council will no longer be in existence, we have to give consideration to budgets for future years because we need to make sure the new unitary authority has sufficient funds to continue local work.

“In this context we can be proud that CDC will bequeath to the new council a sound financial position and high performing quality services, which is a testament to the hard work of members and officers working together over many years in the best interests of all our residents.

“The shadow of financial crisis or service failure has never come near this council and I sincerely hope that its culture and values will continue into the new unitary authority where they can form the basis of future success from the benefit of all our residents.

“In conclusion, the budget proposed sensibly balances protection of services and cost to the taxpayer and will result in an increase of council tax of just £5.42 to £186.30. This increase equates to just 10p a week for a band D property.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, councillor Peter Jones, spoke in support of the budget and praised the leader for her “commitment and enthusiasm” over the past year.

While praising the “exciting” plans to build a new leisure centre in Amersham, Cllr Jones raised concerns it could spell the end of other leisure facilities in the district if they are not used by residents – and urged them to “use it or lose it”.

He said: “Can I finish by thanking the leader not just for her speech this evening, but for her leadership, her commitment, her enthusiasm and her courtesy throughout the council year.

“Can I include her cabinet colleagues on that who are, I suspect, working many more hours for the council then they thought they might do when they started out being a councillor in the first place.”