AT LEAST some of the New Homes Bonus funding will be passed back into the communities most affected by housing development, council chiefs have pledged.
A petition signed by 1,429 people opposed to spreading the Government funding evenly across the district and calling on the council to give the cash to the areas which needed it most was submitted back in April.
Bromsgrove District Council which carried out a thorough investigation into the issue updated residents and councillors at the latest full council meeting.
And, assurance was given by the Conservative group of their aim to make sure at least some of the funding would be passed on to local communities.
During the meeting it was argued the money should be used to improve things in the communities most affected by providing funding for scout, guides sports clubs and other community groups across the district.
Lead petitioner Peter Rowbottom, from the Hagley Residents Action Group, said it was disappointing, despite the issue being so important to so many people across the district that it was only after the intervention of Labour councillors the issue was even discussed and given the attention it warranted.
“I now look forward to the working party’s recommendations coming before both cabinet and the full council imminently in the hope both decision-making bodies will then authorise a change in policy on this funding so thousands of people within local communities across the entire district can truly benefit in terms of improved local facilities.
“This was always one of the stated intentions of the scheme when Central Government launched it back in 2011.”
MP Sajid Javid said a large amount of people had contacted him regarding the issue.
He added: “It is an important principle that local residents see some of the benefits of the New Homes Bonus.
“That’s why I’ve raised their concerns with Coun Sherrey and welcomed the council’s decision to take a fresh look at its approach.”
A Bromsgrove District Council spokesperson said it was revealed at the meeting on September 24 that the New Homes Bonus Working Group had been set up to look at options available, if any, and to address the concerns raised by residents.
“One of the aims of the group has been to identify potential schemes that may enable an element of the future New Homes Bonus funding to be allocated for community schemes.”
She added proposals would be considered in the context of the budget setting process and any Cabinet recommendations in relation to expenditure in the 2015/16 financial year and beyond would form part of their wider budget proposals.
“It is our understanding that the New Homes Bonus group will meet again at the beginning of November to discuss potential schemes and that any recommendations arising from this group would then need to be made to Cabinet in advance of wider community consultation.
“We can assure Mr Rowbottom that once the outcome of this group is known that the next steps and timelines will be made publically available.”