District to find £648,000 for Eco-town just for next year
COUNCIL tax payers throughout East Hampshire will be picking up the bill for the Eco-town for the next financial year to a total of £648,000 but councillors and officials are uncommitted about where funding for the multi-million project will come from after April 2014.
Tomorrow (Thursday), East Hampshire District Council is expected to confirm its budget, including the sum for ongoing work at Bordon and Whitehill, now that the initial millions of pounds of Government seed capital has been spent.
Members of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee who considered the proposed budget before it was put to the council said they were concerned about the amount of money that had already been spent on the Whitehill Bordon Project and how much more would be needed to see it through to completion.
The committee was told that with the Army leaving Bordon, the council would have a positive investment opportunity which would benefit the entire district.
The project represented the largest economic development opportunity ever undertaken by the council and comprised a lot of developable land.
It was a large project and would take a long time to complete but some major sites were starting to become available for development.
A report to the committee stated that the benefits would include more affordable housing, more businesses, more jobs and more money from the Government’s New Homes Bonus and Council Tax.
Whitehill Pinewood councillor Chris Wherrell, who is a member of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said he was concerned about funding for Bordon Whitehill and was expecting to contribute to the budget debate.
“As far as I know, funding is ongoing, it is not set in concrete.
“We will have to carry on and I am sure it will continue.
“We have been thinking a lot about the funding because it is a very, very big project so that is only to be expected.
“It’s a question of budgeting, the same as we all have to do.”
Cllr Wherrell was confident that everyone’s nerves would settle once the first buildings were up.
“We have the Eco-station now about which the locals are very enthusiastic and once we get the first 80 or so houses it will trigger debate then we will fight for the infrastructure.”
He welcomed the appointment of Stephen Pearce as the new eco-town project director and said he would be actively seeking funding and looking at prospective uses of the land.
“The employment gap needs to be filled,” said Cllr Wherrell.
“But opportunities are out there.”
He said he was particularly interested in encouraging opportunities for work involving engineering and was in discussion with the Army about possible short-term use of its facilities at Bordon.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Petersfield
Thursday 05 December 2013
Temperature: 2 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 1 C to 6 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West