THE go-ahead to create new parish councils in Swindon - the most significant change to local government here for some years -  was agreed by councillors last night.

Councillors voted along party lines by 29 votes for to 26 against with one abstention.

The new parishes will take on responsibility for services, such as grass cutting, which Swindon Borough Council says it cannot afford and it is not legally obliged to provide.

Labour group leader Jim Grant said: "Nobody voted for it, nobody asked for it, everybody is against it."

He says those living in the new parishes will see an 11 per cent rise in their council tax bills.

Liberal Democrat councillor Stan Pajak said that "councils in a council" just don't work and strongly opposed the parishing proposals.

Coun Keith Williams (Con) acknowledged the concerns but said the proposals are in the best interests of Swindon residents in challenging financial times.

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