Sandown residents will again see an increase in their tax bills after last year's 50 per cent hike.

A 6.6 per cent rise in council tax precept was approved by Sandown Town Council last night (Monday) for the year ahead, as well as an increase in toilet fees to 50p all year round.

It was also approved to reduce the town mayor's allowance - to nothing.

The average Band D Sandown resident will now pay £232.80 a year towards the services and activities of the town council — an extra £14.47 a year — which makes it one of the most expensive town, parish or community council precepts on the Island.

The budget approved by the town council yesterday — with eight members in favour and three against — was put forward by the current and former mayors, Cllrs Alex and Paddy Lightfoot.

Cllr Paddy Lightfoot said: "The budget is not perfect, it is still a rise, I would love to see it come down but inflation being where it is it is an expectation, unless we cutback which I refuse to accept we should be doing."

The budget includes £30,000 for a youth provision in the town, £2,000 for the Christmas Funday and £7,800 to provide mechanical raking of the beach to the south of Sandown Pier.

The council agreed to hire a senior planning enforcement officer for a year but deputy mayor, Cllr Ian Fletcher, was against the idea saying he felt the officer would not be able to help and it would be wrong for taxpayers to pay nearly £9,000 for that.

Cllr Debbie Andre said residents had long been asking for something to be done about the derelict buildings and, while there would be no magic wand to resolve the situation, a dedicated planning enforcement officer for the town would be valuable.

Councillors said they would assess results before they commit to further funding.

The Lightfoots also included a £40,000 fund for 'Place Plan and Town Improvements', for some of the projects in the newly created Bay Place Plan.

Cllr Paddy Lightfoot said: "It is a chunk of money but for the last few years we have been rebuilding, we have been sorting out toilets and I see we should now be looking further ahead than that and about actually rebuilding Sandown."

He said the money will help bring in additional grant funding from other sources.