Claims of £612,000 funding 'scandal' in Highbridge denied
District Council has denied that money given by developers to
promote Highbridge town centre has been 'whisked away for other
projects', despite claims from a group of local councillors.
Asda opened its Highbridge store, the developer had to pay just
under £612,000 to "promote the viability and vitality
of Highbridge and to fulfil regeneration priorities".
councillor John Parkes, pictured below, told a council
meeting on Monday evening (October 12th) that Highbridge is being
"treated as the poor relation in comparison to Burnham and
has missed out on many real benefits to its town centre,"
adding that it is a "scandal" how the money has been
spent. We first reported on the claims here.
Sedgemoor District Council's Corporate Relations Manager Claire
Faun responded on Monday: "The developer was obliged to pay
£611,930.15 in Section 106 obligations relating to the ASDA
development in Highbridge. In respect of the Isleport Ponds Contributions
specifically, these funds became due within two years of the development
starting on site and were paid in 2012."
is no 'missing money'. The monies identified in the S106 are as
follows: £30,000 to Somerset County Council Highways Contribution
towards the maintenance of the new traffic signals at the toucan
crossings on the A38 and B3139; £182,062 to Somerset County
Council - Education Contribution; and £399,868.15 to Sedgemoor
District Council for Isleport Pond Open Space Contribution towards
the costs of improving and enhancing Sedgemoor District Councils
public open space at Isleport Ponds."
contributions are for public open space and pedestrians links
rather than any regeneration of the town centre, as cited in the
Development Committee report online using planning ref 11/04/00190
and looking under Committee Documents."
She added: "Clearly, the spending of such a large amount
of money is not being considered lightly and the Council will
need to take the time to make sure it is spent to the maximum
effect for the enhancement of public open space for the residents
of Highbridge. The Section 106 Agreement requires that the Isleport
Ponds Contributions are spent no later than 2022."