AN “UNDERSTAFFED” town council is set to be awarded tens of thousands of pounds to help it cope with the increased workload it is facing after the merger of Dorset’s councils.

Wimborne Minster Town Council says that it is financially-disadvantaged compared to other towns in the rural Dorset area and had asked East Dorset District Council for almost £100,000.

The district council’s cabinet committee is set to back a grant of “up to a maximum of £75,000” to facilitate “future sustainability” of the town council after the April merger.

Last month, the town council wrote requesting special consideration for support raising concerns about it having a smaller precept and fewer income-generating assets than other parts of the rural Dorset area.

It said that it needed two extra members of staff to meet increasing demands on its services partly down to the merger of the county’s councils.

However, this would have required it to increase its share of council tax bills by about 25 per cent, compared to a figure of just over three per cent which it has proposed.

“Some of our case for special consideration is based on knowledge gained anecdotally through discussions with other councils and knowledge directly from officers at East Dorset District Council,” its chairman, Cllr Kelly Webb, said.

“It is these discussions that lead us to believe that our restricted tax base and huge town offering leaves us at a disadvantage to other key towns.”

She said that while many surrounding towns and villages made use of its facilities and benefited from organisations it supports, it could not make them provide financial support.

The town council had requested that a number of district council-owned car parks be transferred into its ownership to provide it with income to cover the costs of other facilities which it had been offered.

However, such a decision cannot be made until the new Dorset council is formed in April.

It requested a total of £99,500 from the district council to include an upgrade of its council chamber, IT systems and mower.

East Dorset District Council’s cabinet committee will consider the request on Thursday (February 14) with council officers recommending that they award funding to cover “up to a maximum of £75,000”.

Its final recommendation will then go to the council’s cabinet for a decision.