Community projects get help from Chester's councillors

Published date: 09 June 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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COUNCILLORS in the Chester area splashed almost £450,000 of their members’ grants on community projects last year.

But latest figures show a pot of more than £310,000 earmarked for wards across the borough remains unspent.

Summer playschemes, railway station fencing, an arts festival and a tennis court refurbishment were among the projects funded.

Every councillor on Cheshire West and Chester Council receives a personal allocation of £10,000 at the beginning of the financial year to be spent in their wards.

It was revealed on Wednesday members invested a total of £456,436.65 during 2013/14, making 395 individual awards to 265 organisations.

A total of £310,564.70 was not used – and will be carried forward into the current financial year.

Cllr Eveleigh Moore Dutton, executive member for resources, said: “Members’ budgets have enabled members to be effective in their communities, to break logjams, to make things happen, to help good causes and to feel thoroughly useful and make a tangible contribution in their community.

“It is mostly match-funding so the money we give as members generates a whole lot more. I think it is a very good scheme.

“This report shows an underspend but please bear in mind there are spends pending. This money is required, and it is being used.”

Chester members spent a total of £96,363.32 in their communities. One award saw £13,000 allocated to resurface Westminster Park tennis courts.

In Ellesmere Port, members awarded £92,226.32 to local causes. A grant of £2,951 was given towards the first Arts Festival in conjunction with Trinity Church. Rural members contributed £107,658.08 which included £500 for fencing at Frodsham Railway Station.

Cllr Ben Powell, shadow finance spokesman, said: “I support member budgets but I do feel there is a need for greater scrutiny of how the money is spent.

“If you give money to a community group to buy equipment, how do you know that equipment has been purchased? I think that is a valid question when we are dealing with taxpayers’ money.”

Any community group, organisation or individual can apply to their local councillor for aid with funding for a project.

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  1. Posted by: doc_watson at 22:01 on 09 June 2014 Report

    Thank God Chester money was spent so sensibly. Warms my heart to know those poor people in Westminster Park are no longer suffering due to insufficient Tennis Court surfaces.


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