A 50 PER CENT hike in Sandown residents' tax bill has been approved.

An alternative scheme to cut the lifeguard service in the town was rejected.

Money will go towards CCTV installation at Sandham Gardens following high levels of anti-social behaviour; £15,000 for the youth provision in the town and replacement decorative lighting.

The amount an average Band D resident will now pay towards Sandown Town Council (STC) has soared to £218.40 a year — a £72.70 increase, or 49.9 per cent.

Last year, Band D residents paid £145.70.

The budget was proposed by deputy mayor, Cllr Alex Lightfoot, who said he knew no one wanted the precept to go up but it would be Sandown residents investing in their town, as no one else was going to.

Other budget items also include:

  • A £500 fund for King Charles III's Coronation celebrations
  • Significant repair costs for Yaverland public toilets
  • Money to keep Pier Street toilets open for key events while the Isle of Wight Council and its contractor negotiated the re-development
  • Funds for a replacement Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) at Sandham Gardens and play equipment

Financial support to Sandown Carnival Association has been reduced from £5,000 to £2,000.

It was also agreed to reduce the Mayor's allowance by £500 to provide grant funding for schools and keep the level of support for Sandown and Shanklin Independent Lifeboat at £2,000.

A £500,000 loan was also agreed to be borrowed from the Public Works Loan Board to fund replacement toilets blocks in the town should it be necessary.

An alternative budget was proposed by Cllrs Debbie Andre, Emily Brothers and Heather Humby which would make around £100,000 in savings in response to the cost of living crisis.

Cllr Brothers said the proposals were fair, balanced and responsible with the purpose of bringing down the cost to residents and argued the town council's income should be accounted for.

They proposed giving back the Yaverland public toilets to the Isle of Wight Council, investing in renewable solar energy and a planning enforcement officer for the town but cutting the lifeguard service. It was not approved.

Cllr Andre said she was disappointed with the 49.9 per cent increase. No income added in the budget calculations meant more burden was put on residents when there were savings that could be made.