TWO OF Evesham’s biggest fund-raising projects are to receive a letter from Evesham Town Council stating they remain committed to paying them funding worth up to £250,000 from a Government scheme.
Members of the town council had agreed to allocate £150,000 to the Almonry Museum project and a further £100,000 for the Evesham Bell Tower appeal from upcoming New Homes Bonus cash.
Every time a new home is built and occupied in Wychavon, the Government gives the district council a New Homes Bonus grant each year for six years which is then re-allocated to town and parish councils.
However, following the Government’s Spending Review last year, Chancellor George Osborne proposed changes to how the grant was paid out – meaning the allocated funding for both projects was in jeopardy.
Following a consultation into the scheme, council bosses at Wychavon District Council agreed to retain the current agreement which sees 40 per cent of New Homes Bonus funding given to communities in the district.
But despite the pledge to continue funding, advance payments to the scheme such as the Almonry and Bell Tower were still not approved. This is to protect the district council should the Government decide to remove or reallocate future NHB funds.
Therefore it is likely the town council will have to accrue the funds over a number of years rather than being taken in a lump sum as could be done previously.
As a statement of intent the council agreed at a meeting held on Monday (April 14) to write a letter to the two appeals stating a commitment to pay the allocated New Homes Bonus funding to them.
But in the letter will be a caveat stating the council will award the funding subject to the funding being available.
Dr Sue Ablett, chairman of the Evesham Bell Tower Appeal, said the letter was welcome but there were still concerns the money may not come in.
“We welcome the town council’s commitment, it’s a step in the right direction,” she said. “But obviously we would have preferred a definite yes or no so we know where we stand.
“The allocation of £100,000 could make a huge difference to the appeal and without it take a considerably longer to get the funds needed.”
The Almonry is undergoing a huge fund-raising project which aims to ensure the historic building remains standing for the next 600 years.