A LEGAL wrangle has almost doubled the amount Sandhurst council taxpayers will pay from next April.

The council has set aside £10,000 to pay for a possible court battle over plans to build a young people's information and advice centre at the Memorial Park.

This has resulted in a council tax rise of 6 per cent rather than 3.5 per cent, putting the monthly Band D rate up from £50.61 to £53.65.

Added to this figure will be any increases imposed by Bracknell Forest Council.

The land row has been sparked by objections to the council's plan to build the youngsters' centre on six acres of the park known as Brookside Meadow.

Some residents say the scheme breaches a covenant which stipulates that the land should be retained as a recreation ground for the "benefit of the residents of Sandhurst".

According to Chris Smith, the council's chief executive, the covenant was drawn up when the then parish council bought the land in 1949.

He said: "We are still investigating this claim that the covenant has been breached.

"In the meantime the council felt it was prudent to have some money in reserve in case of a legal challenge."

The rest of the increase has been blamed on national pay awards, rising gas bills and a long-term contract to jointly fund Sandhurst Sports Centre.

As far as pay awards are concerned, the council warns that current national negotiations could result in a "significant council tax rise" next year.

The talks may result in some salaries rising by 10 per cent, while the average increase is likely to be six per cent.