CRADLEY residents can expect to see their council tax rise this year when the parish council increases its precept.

The council had previously been charging £8,000 a year, while also using reserves inherited from the previous council.

But this year, as reserves are running low, councillors have made the decision to increase the precept to £17,500.

Chairman David Creed-Newton said: "We had been charging £15,000, then, because of the size of the cash surplus, we cut it to £8,000. This time round, the council had a look at cash reserves and the forward spending plan. We judged that now would be the time for stopping that reduction.

"The objective of the reduced precept was to run the reserves down, it's not satisfactory to keep a high reserve in the long-term."

Mr Creed-Newton said that the increase will cover a number of new projects mooted in the parish plan, although the council was yet to decide on which these would be.

He said that the council would be producing a newsletter, which will be distributed around the village, explaining the history of its precept, what the money was spent on and why it was increasing this year.

Resident Pamela Hurle, a former chairman of the parish council, said she felt the council needed to be more open about exactly where the money was going.

She said that when the precept had been £15,000, it was for specific projects, such as the playing field.

"If this money is to be spent, we have a right to know what it's going to be spent on.

"What I am concerned about with this particular situation is that we have never had a precept as high as this in all the history of the parish council and there does not seem to be a specific reason for it, " she said.