TOWN centre residents were given a boost in the new council budget when an amendment was passed which will see the cost of parking permits drop by £5 from the start of April.

Funding was also put forward to provide a new environmental officer post for the area as well as an increase in the number of trips on the number 25 bus service.

The parking permit amendment was put forward at Monday’s council meeting by the Liberal Democrats but which received support from all parties.

From April 1, the price of an annual parking permit for residents’ first car will drop from £40 to £35, with a further £5 reduction set to come into place at the same time next year.

The price of a six-month permit, which is £25, will remain the same, although demand for these is extremely low.

The move is set to cost about £20,000, which will be funded with recent efficiency savings, such as an online application system, as well as income gained from parking enforcement.

Coun Stan Pajak (Lib Dem, Eastcott), who put forward the amendment, said: “This is about giving back some of the money we have saved to residents, which is what politicians should be doing.

“Money has been saved through various ways so it is right people see that.

“It is something which will benefit the people who live in the town centre who just want to park outside their own homes.

“With increased spaces for people to park as well when they come into town it will make it easier for the residents.”

Coun Pajak is also hoping that the area can be significantly improved once a new environmental officer starts in the role.

This will also cost £20,000 and be funded from fines collected from dog mess and fly-tipping.

He said: “One of the most common things I hear from people when we speak is the amount of dog fouling and litter which is in the town centre.

“It is especially bad when you look down some of the alleys.

“I feel this is going to get worse with the changes to recycling and green waste , so the officer can tackle this problem.”

A final part of the amendment will see the number of buses on the 25 service through Kingshill increase from three a day to five.

This will cost £8,200 which will be funded from a public transport grant.

Coun Pajak said: “There are many elderly residents who rely on this service to get into town.

“Once the changes came into effect the reduced routes meant some could only go into town for ten minutes. This gives them far more freedom.”