PARISH councillors in Hagley are facing a backlash after rejecting a demand by 210 local taxpayers to raid the coffers of nearby Clent following a boundary change.

A petition called on them to claim some of more than £100,000 held by adjoining Clent Parish Council, after 1,400 people were transferred, through the boundary change, into Hagley.

But Hagley Parish Council chairman Steve Colella said any move to grab money paid to Clent by households now transferred into Hagley parish would be "merely a paper tiger" and would have "no teeth".

However, Peter Rowbottom, of Kidderminster Road South, Hagley, who collected the 210-name petition, said: "For Hagley Council to ignore the wishes of over 200 parishioners is in my opinion undemocratic.

"Hagley are taking over the responsibility for an additional 55 street lights as part of the assets transfer.

"Clent have collected extra council tax over the past two years in order to carry out a replacement programme, but in return Clent have only upgraded a handful of lights in the transfer area over the same period.

"Hagley have effectively taken over the liability of those lights yet at the same time allowed Clent to keep the money which was raised to improve them.

"Clent Council voted in 2014 to upgrade all of these lights so that commitment will now be the responsibility of Hagley Council, from next April, which I understand will cost some £30,000 to complete."

Councillor Colella hit back, saying: "Unfortunately for the petition there is no such obligation for Clent Parish Council to agree to any such claim and as such will make any approach from Hagley Parish Council merely a 'paper tiger'.

"It will look threatening but simply has no teeth in terms of legitimacy.

"This has never been about money.

"It has, however, been about righting a wrong and ensuring that the correct and most effective governance model exists to support the people that live within our geographical area.

"I strongly believe that, had we detailed a claim to extract monies from Clent Parish Council at the start of this process, we would have met with a far greater challenge, including questioning the real merits for the change."

Mr Rowbottom remains unconvinced, saying: "Ultimately, if Hagley Parish Council are more interested in supposedly retaining good relations with Clent Parish Council, rather than truly representing their new parishioner's interests, then they will have to justify their stance to Hagley villagers over the coming months."