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Labour says £1million for Burntwood would have been “modest” compared to £12.5million Lichfield District Council has spent on failed Friarsgate scheme

Labour has outlined how it would have allocated an additional £1million of funding for Burntwood after a Conservative councillor claimed the proposal didn’t add up.

The opposition group at Lichfield District Council had tabled a proposed amendment to the budget at a meeting of the local authority this week.

Commit £1,000,000 to capital projects in Burntwood to support the Town Deal priorities and £741,800 for rural areas which are not included in the draft Capital Programme (eg Fazeley and Colton) by reallocating the following funds:
* £696,000 additional funding for short-term redevelopment of the Birmingham Rd site (on top of the £2,299,000 already approved)

* £38,860 proposed for General Reserves

* £110,000 additional New Homes Bonus in excess of the “cap” for 2019/20

* £896,940 VAT reclaim as yet unallocated.

= £1,741,800.

The Labour amendment proposed for the Lichfield District Council budget

The amendment was rejected but one Conservative councillor did back it while five others went against the party line and abstained from the vote.

But Cllr Doug Pullen, Conservative member of Lichfield District Council and leader of Burntwood Town Council, said the opposition group had failed to deliver a fully costed budget plan – and accused them of seeking headlines with their £1million for Burntwood proposal.

Cllr Sue Woodward, Leader of the Labour group at Lichfield District Council said with the total for work on the failed Friarsgate redevelopment and subsequent Birmingham Road Site planning now topping £12.5million, residents in Burntwood and other areas of the district could no longer stomach money continually being pumped into the city alone.

Sue Woodward
Cllr Sue Woodward

“Labour councillors have been calling for more investment in Burntwood for many years,” she said. “When Friarsgate collapsed last year, I called for a complete review of the capital budget to ensure that every part of the district got its fair and equitable share or resources.

“Last November, when I raised this yet again, the council leader asked me to put forward specific suggestions for investment. I took him at his word and submitted them in good faith.

“I continued to press him on this right up to the wire of the Budget meeting but Cllr Wilcox has done nothing to take these investment proposals forward.”

Part of the city centre site earmarked for Friarsgate
Part of the Birmingham Road Site which had previously been earmarked for Friarsgate

Cllr Woodward added that the proposed amendment would have been a “modest” return given the council has already set aside almost £3million for short-term redevelopment of the Birmingham Road Site.

She added: “At least some Tory councillors had the decency and courage to abstain and one actually voted for our proposal but, of course, it was railroaded through.

“Yet again, the Council leader promised to look at investment in Burntwood but the promises of jam tomorrow have worn very thin. We want some jam today.”

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1 Comment

  1. Philip John

    21st February, 2019 at 8:58 am

    Seems pretty fully costed to me. Is Doug going to explain what part of the £1.74m isn’t accounted for in the amendment to support the claim that it doesn’t add up? Otherwise it sounds like the playground party politics he claimed to want to rid Burntwood of.

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