A COUNCILLOR has accused Test Valley Borough Council of “double-taxing” the people of Andover by choosing to keep its “special levy” for the town.

Town councillor Len Gates says the Andover Special Levy has become an “unnecessary” tax on residents since the formation of Andover’s parish level authority.

The levy is an extra £23.05 charge, for Band D properties, which is paid by residents in the parish of Andover on top of their usual council tax.

The special tax raises around £300,000 for Test Valley Borough Council and is used to pay costs such as cemeteries, playground maintenance and outdoor sports facilities in Andover.

It was introduced when Andover did not have a town council and was used to prevent residents who pay for their own parish authorities across the borough from funding services in Andover.

However Andover Town Council was formed in April 2010 which has its own precept, of around £20-per-year for Band D properties.

This has led some in the town, such as town councillor Gates, to call for an end to Andover’s Special Levy.

He said: “This is an unnecessary additional tax levied on local residents without justification and without proper accountability.

“Many of the services claimed to be provided are used by residents from outside Andover, other costs are arbitrarily attributed to Andover residents.

“It is a form of double taxation designed primarily to balance the books of Test Valley Borough Council and should be abolished as soon as possible.”

Despite councillor Gates’ calls, Test Valley Borough Council looks set to keep its special levy due to the “limited” range of services provided by the town council.

However in TVBC’s council tax report to the authority’s cabinet on Wednesday, council chiefs recommended the authority reduce the charge to £21.88 this year.

The council says it also reduced the levy in 2011/12 to take account of the transfer of the management of allotments to Andover Town Council and has cut the charge each year since 2014.

Economic Portfolio Holder, councillor Peter Giddings, said: “The council delivers a number of services that are traditionally carried out by town or parish councils, such as playground and cemetery maintenance.

“The Andover Special Expenses Levy covers the cost of these additional services.

“It does not duplicate the charges imposed by the town council, which cover other services.”