£2.5m fund­ing is ‘not serv­ing the com­mu­nity’

Com­mu­nity coun­cil not happy with spend­ing

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

Hous­ing de­vel­op­ments in Cam­bus­lang East have gen­er­ated an ad­di­tional £ 2.5mil­lion for in­vest­ment in lo­cal fa­cil­i­ties, the Re­former can re­veal.

The cash, known as com­mu­nity gain fund­ing, has been paid by build­ing com­pa­nies be­tween 2002 and 2015 as a way of en­sur­ing com­mu­nity ben­e­fit - such as a play park or recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties - is added to any new de­vel­op­ment.

Fig­ures have been gat h e red by the Re­former amidst grow­ing con­cern that South La­nark­shire Coun­cil is spend­ing the cash on projects out­with the ward.

Ob­tained via a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest to the coun­cil, the fig­ures show that of the £2.5m at­trib­uted to Cam­bus­lang East, £1.9m has been al­lo­cated to projects within the New­ton Com­mu­nity Growth area. This in­cludes £350,0000 for a football pitch and £300,000 for a new com­mu­nity hall, to be built along­side the area’s new pri­mary school which also re­ceived £1.2m in fund­ing.

A fur­ther £240,000 will be spent build­ing an ex­ten­sion at St Charles’ Pri­mary and mak­ing in­ter­nal al­ter­na­tions at Cairns.

The fig­ures show that de­spite con­cerns that cash is be­ing spent else­where, no money has been passed to Ud­dingston Gram­mar.

John Edgar, of Half­way Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, said that while the ma­jor­ity of com­mu­nity gain money was spent in Cam­bus­lang East it was not in­vested in fa­cil­i­ties des­per­ately needed in the com­mu­nity.

He said: “Half­way Com­mu­nity Coun­cil are not happy with the way the fund­ing is spent. We feel the money is not serv­ing the com­mu­nity.

“South La­nark­shire Coun­cil are putting it into in­fra­struc­ture they want, not what the com­mu­nity has asked for.

“The life­style cen­tre is in Ruther­glen, Spring­hall Hall is in Ruther­glen and the Fern­hill Hall is in Ruther­glen. There is not one fa­cil­ity in the Cam­bus­lang East ward which will be the largest ward in South La­nark­shire in the next five years.

“They re­ally need to look at what they are do­ing with the money. The houses are be­ing built here, but there’s no in­fra­struc­ture, it’s dis­gust­ing.”

To date £ 90,000 of com­mu­nity gain fund­ing ded­i­cated to im­prove­ments in Cam­bus­lang East re­mains un­spent, while a fur­ther £225,000 gen­er­ated in the area for af­ford­able hous­ing is to be spent in the next five years.

Some of the money has al­ready been spent build­ing 70 new af­ford­able homes in Fern­hill this year.

A spokes­woman for South La­nark­shire Coun­cil said: “Devel­op­ers’ con­tri­bu­tions re­ceived by the coun­cil, through the plan­ning gain process are con­di­tioned and can only be spent in line with these con­di­tions.

“Ac­cord­ingly, if the money re­ceived is less than the amount re­quired to un­der­take an el­e­ment of work, then the money is held un­til other money is re­ceived for the same pur­pose, un­til a sufficient sum is avail­able to com­plete the work.”

Pauline El­liot, head of plan­ning and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment added: “The coun­cil, where ap­pro­pri­ate, will seek con­tri­bu­tions from devel­op­ers to off­set the im­pacts their pro­pos­als may have on the in­fra­struc­ture in the lo­cal area such as roads, education and com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties, plus con­tri­bu­tions to­wards af­ford­able hous­ing.”

Dis­gust John Edgar

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