September 29th, 2016

Homes bonus cash decision a ‘slap in the face’ for communities

Homes bonus cash decision a ‘slap in the face’ for communities Homes bonus cash decision a ‘slap in the face’ for communities
Updated: 11:17 am, May 07, 2015

COMMUNITIES directly affected by new developments will only receive 25 per cent of the New Homes Bonus (NHB).

Bromsgrove District Council’s Cabinet decided on the budget at their latest meeting on Wednesday (February 4).

The total cash generated by the NHB for the next financial year (2015 to 2016) will be £348,000.

Despite arguments and demands for 100 per cent of the pot to be put towards areas directly affected, the committee decided to only allocate a quarter of that amount.

The remaining 75 per cent will be used across the district as the majority of members argued the whole of Bromsgrove would be affected regardless of where development was.

Coun Mike Webb said there was nothing stopping parish councils, groups or individuals from asking for more money – applications would then be discussed as part of the budget round.

“This has helped us to continue to offer frontline services without putting council tax up.” he added.

Coun Luke Mallett, leader of the Bromsgrove Labour Group, said after months of investigations and thousands of signatures on a petition the town’s Conservative group had come forward with an offer of less than seven per cent of the total NHB budget.

“This is a slap in the face for those communities in and around the district which are accepting the majority of development, it flies in the face of their own Government’s intention.” he added.

Tiny step

“It is quite clear they have consented to make this tiny step, not because they want to, but because they feel they have to and they have little intention of making a single grant to an affected community.”

Coun Steve Colella, from the independent alliance, said he was left bitterly disappointed with the cabinet’s decision along with the many hundreds of Bromsgrove residents who supported the scheme.

He added it was less than £3 per household in terms of community ‘benefit’.

Angry and disappointed

Coun Colella said he had already been contacted by a number of angry and disappointed petitioners asking if anything could be done to reverse the decision.

He added the full budget for 2015 and 2016, including the NHB scheme, would be brought up at the next full council meeting where his group would be presenting an alternative budget which he guaranteed would look upon NHB more favourably.

Coun Colella said: “Ultimately, residents will have the final word at the district elections on May 7.”