Car parking fares have been frozen but council tax is set to increase by 1.5 per cent for the first time in ten years.

The recommendation to increase the Epping Forest District Council precept for council tax was discussed at the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, February 6.

Cabinet noted that this increase is half the predicted rate of inflation for 2020/21 budget.

Around 12,884 council tax band D homeowners may have to pay £ 154.75 should the increase be approved, compared to £152.46 last year.

While Essex County Council raises its rates most years and parish councils regularly up their precepts, Epping has only bumped up the rate once since 2010.

Leader of the council Councillor Chris Whitbread said: “It is important to note that EFDC will continue to have a strong financial performance and strong balance sheet and most importantly the usable reserves will still be running in excess of 25 per cent.”

The district council is waiting for precept figures from Parish / Town Councils, Essex County Council and other countywide bodies in order to make their final decision.

Councillors approved the budget outline and confirmed the approach to cost and income inflation at 3.0 per cent, noting that rents would rise per the national formula at 2.7 per cent.

An agreement was also made for overall funding adjustments for the District Development Fund (DFF) of £846,660 almost £1.5 million less originally forecasted.

The low-tax years may be coming to an end in Epping Forest however, with a 1.5 per cent yearly increase suggested in the district council's medium term financial strategy.

A final decision on council tax will be taken to full council on Tuesday, February 25.