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Community projects set to benefit from New Homes Bonus investment

Date issued: 13 October 2017

Colchester Borough Council's Cabinet has agreed updated Budget proposals to invest over £1 million of New Homes Bonus (NHB) on community projects and facilities in the Borough.

Among new schemes approved by the Cabinet, on 11 October, are plans to upgrade visitor facilities at Castle Park and High Woods Country Park, as well as providing enhanced access to a range of online services available in the borough's community centres.

Agreement had already been reached to invest £1.575m of the £2.036m NHB, set aside in the 2017/18 Budget, on several major infrastructure projects. These include £750k of investment towards new sport and leisure facilities at the Northern Gateway, £300k to construct an innovative low-carbon Northern Gateway heat network, and a £250k investment in the North Essex Garden Communities project. In addition, £25k had been allocated to next year's centenary commemorations to mark the end of the First World War.

Cabinet members have now agreed to fund three additional projects with part of the remaining NHB. These include:

  • A £200k investment in Castle Park, focussed on improving public conveniences to meet the growing visitor numbers, and work on the lower park gate, boating lake and paths throughout the park.
  • Investing £25k in Highwoods Country Park, to provide viable and sustainable catering facilities in time for summer 2018.
  • £50k for Digital Spokes development in Community Hubs, to expand capacity and improve community access to online services including primary care

The £186k remainder will be allocated to meet emerging priorities during the rest of the financial year.

Cllr Mark Cory, Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: "I am delighted that we are able to agree an updated revenue budget that once again presents a robust response to the financial constraints that continue to be imposed upon us by central government.

"In spite of continuing and increasing cost pressures on the Council this year, and mindful of the need to make further savings next year, we have nevertheless been able to propose a Budget that protects vital services and delivers on our promise to increase investment in the Borough for the benefit of all residents."

Cllr Paul Smith, Leader of the Council, said: "The squeeze on our finances means we have to look at every option to save money, generate income and create growth.

"I am proud to lead a prudent administration that is managing the Budget exceedingly well for the people of Colchester - even under severe fiscal constraints - and which is able to propose a considerable programme of investment in the community projects that residents want, and in the frontline services they need and deserve." 

ENDS