Council admits Brockhill play cash ‘spent elsewhere’

By Ian Dipple Thursday 22 May 2014 Updated: 23/05 09:04

MONEY earmarked for investment in Brockhill has been spent elsewhere in the borough, council bosses have admitted.

About £138,000 was set aside to spend on community and playground facilities on the estate when planning permission was granted more than a decade ago as part of section 106 agreements with the developer.

But following questions raised by Coun Brenda Quinney, who represents Batchley and Brockhill, about why the cash had not been spent, Redditch Borough Council chiefs told her it had, but on projects in nearby Batchley instead and the running track at the Abbey Stadium.

Coun Quinney said residents had already paid for the facilities when they bought their homes, as developers would have adjusted the price they sold them at to account for the section 106 money, and were entitled to receive them.

“Upon reading through the section 106 agreements I found them to be very loosely worded which enabled the planners to spend the money upon facilities anywhere but Brockhill,” she said.

“I hope RBC when they study and recognise the unfairness of this situation will set aside a comparable sum of money from 2014/15 budget - this year’s has already been spent - to correct the situation.”

But Ruth Bamford, head of planning and regeneration, said: “Given the closeness of Batchley and Brockhill a key aspect of the new development there was linking and improving existing facilities, to create an acceptable living environment with appropriate access to open space, play equipment and community facilities for the benefit of everyone in the area.

“High quality open space linking the areas was created to make best use of the Batchley ponds area, and additional investment was made in the existing school, shopping centre and community centre that everyone could access.

“Equipment at the improved ponds area was upgraded and new facilities were installed at Salters Lane. The Abbey Stadium received some investment from this area for the same reason, with national standards for these types of facilities requiring them to be within a 20 minute drive.

“There is no question all monies received from the development were used to those ends at that time, but unfortunately detailed records are not required to be kept for that long.”

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