A Cotswold District Councillor is hoping to get elected onto a town council he recently suggested should be abolished which 'spent £12k on iPads'.

CDC councillor Chris Twells is among the candidates standing for election in the upcoming Tetbury Town Council by-election.

The Tetbury with Upton ward councillor, who also sits as an Independent on Salford City Council some 160 miles away, had unsuccessfully called for a town poll in November to gauge public opinion over the potential to scrap the council.

He says households pay £157 a year to their town council than what they do to Cotswold District Council (CDC) which charges band D properties £148.93 (the final council tax bill households pay is much higher as it also includes county council and police charges).

And Cllr Twells has launched a joint election campaign with fellow Independent – To Change Tetbury Town Council candidates Calypso Barnard, Alison Figueiredo.

He says the three candidates are campaigning to shine a spotlight on Tetbury Town Council and present a compelling case for change in the upcoming by-election on February 15.

“Tetbury Town Council has been described as the most dysfunctional local authority in Gloucestershire,” he said.

“Last year they spent £12,250 buying iPads for themselves and used council staff to organise a lavish Christmas party for councillors at the Snooty Fox hotel.

“Four town councillors have resigned since the summer and now the current administration is proposing a five per cent hike in council tax, burdening the average household with a £160 charge from April.

“Residents in our neighbouring parishes – people who live just a few hundred yards away – only pay around £12 per year.

“£12,250 would be more than enough to pay for a comprehensive feasibility study for a new leisure centre and swimming pool in Tetbury.

“If elected, I will be urging the town councillors to send their iPads back and spend the money on something that will benefit local residents – not wasting public money on shiny Apple devices for self-important town councillors.”

On November 28, Tetbury residents decided not to back Cllr Twells’ proposals to reduce its precepts to no more than £12 a year for a band D property and replace the town council with a charitable trust.

Residents at the meeting requested that Cllr Twells “go away and to do his homework”, and to answer how exactly the proposed arrangements would work in practice.

Mayor Liz Farnham, who chaired the town meeting, said at the time: “It was heart warming to see the number of people who turned out to hear more about the proposal to disband Tetbury Town Council, to hear their comments about what a wonderful place Tetbury is to live and the good work that this Council does for the town.

“A big thank you to everyone who attended the meeting and for their messages of support.”

Cllr Twells told the Local Democracy Reporting Service last week that the proposal to scrap the council was more about triggering a debate rather than a serious proposition.

“It’s very rare in England that parishes are abolished and you need a really good reason,” he said.

“Politically, I have quite a few disagreements with our town council. The precept is pretty high at £157 a year. People in Tetbury pay more to their town council than Cotswold District Council.

“And yet if you look at who gets blamed for stuff going wrong it tends to be CDC. So if we’d got ten people at the meeting to stick their arms in the air we could have had a poll that involved the whole town and really tested public opinion on it.

“Unfortunately, and this is my fault for not whipping people to turn up, we didn’t have the numbers. Quite a lot of my natural supporters had a crisis of confidence when they came to the vote.

“There were only two of us who called for a poll. We did look a bit stupid.”

District councillors regularly attend their parish councils to give updates on council business.

However, neighbouring Tetbury Upton Parish Council says Cllr Twells has not attended any of their meetings since his election in May.

Tetbury Town Council declined to comment. Also standing in the by-election is Xam Macutay-Malloch.