THE people of High Wycombe have been “betrayed”, an angry councillor has said – as plans for a town council were once again delayed.

And in another blow for residents, council tax looks set to go up by £20 per band D property in Wycombe, according to councillor and campaigner Khalil Ahmed.

The decisions were made at a meeting of the shadow executive on January 7 – and it means there will be no new town council for High Wycombe before the new county-wide council comes into place.

Plans for a town council for High Wycombe were delayed last month by Wycombe District Council’s regulatory and appeals committee, who decided it was up to the shadow executive to decide.

But the shadow executive has also now delayed the plans, saying they should be decided after the new Buckinghamshire Council comes into existence in April.

Angry campaigners and former mayors Cllr Ahmed, Cllr Brian Pearce and Trevor Snaith have all slammed the move – saying it is “nothing short of disgraceful”.

Cllr Pearce says the town is being “pushed around as if doesn’t matter” by councillors on the shadow executive, while Cllr Ahmed and Mr Snaith said they would be seeking legal advice and “assessing their options”.

At Tuesday’s meeting, councillors on the shadow executive – which was set up to make decisions ahead of the new unitary authority – said they did not want to rush the decision.

But at the very same meeting, councillors agreed to create a new parish council for the Kingsbrook area in Aylesbury.

Cllr Martin Tett said setting up a new town council for High Wycombe would be significantly more work than it would be for Kingsbrook.

Cllr Tett also addressed concerns from campaigners that Wycombe District Council did not do its job properly by delaying the town council decision.

He said: “The inference from letters I have received is that there is a feeling that Wycombe has been erroneous in not making its own decision and passing it to the executive.

“They were correct, this is a decision for this executive, not for Wycombe District Council.

“They have acted quite appropriately in having the decision taken here.

“I have sympathy with people who want stronger locality working. We have been very committed to this and that will continue in the Wycombe area. The mayoralty will continue and that is very symbolically important for the town.”

Rachael Shimmin, chief executive, said she had “significant concerns” that officers would not have the capacity to deal with setting up a new High Wycombe town council because they have too much work to do ahead of the new unitary.

And Cllr Warren Whyte added: “There is good reason to not rush into this. There is no clear consensus about what is the best way forward.

“I’m very happy to accept the recommendation to defer this to the new council. There will be time and space to continue with this.”

Cllr Mark Shaw agreed that the decision should not be rushed but accepted that there was demand for it in High Wycombe.

He said: “The reality is, there is a large passion for a second tier of government in High Wycombe. I have spoken to many people and felt the strength of passion.

“We need to work with the town and its people and come up with ideas that are right for the town. Yes, there should be one, but we shouldn’t rush into it because then we will make bad decisions.”

Reacting to the news, Mr Snaith said a “disservice” has been done to the people of High Wycombe, adding: “Their behaviour was nothing short of disgraceful, the people of High Wycombe have been treated like second class citizens again.”

Cllr Ahmed added that he was shocked that Cllr Wood – the leader of Wycombe District Council – did not outline her clear support for High Wycombe’s town council, even though she also sits on Chepping Wycombe Parish Council in her own ward.

But at Tuesday’s meeting, Cllr Wood said: “I’m conscious the petitions we had were requesting different things and there isn’t really a clear outcome. We need more responses to make a final decision.”

She also addressed claims that Wycombe District Council had been negligent by not agreeing to the new town council when it had the chance.

She added: “WDC did nothing wrong, they dealt with it absolutely correctly. There is a lot of misconception that Wycombe has done something wrong and that is not the case.”