Village centre cash cut
Buy this photo » Coun Derique Montaut outside the Eldene Village Centre
RESIDENTS in the Eldene area will no longer benefit from a cash boost to help rejuvenate the tired village centre – which a councillor claims will rip the heart out of the area.
Councillor Derique Montaut has criticised the authority for its decision to exclude Eldene from a project to regenerate six village centres.
In February last year, then-council leader Rod Bluh announced £900,000 was to be used to breathe fresh life into tired village centres such as Covingham Square, Liden, Eldene, Toothill, Freshbrook and Guildford Avenue, in Lawn, over the following two years.
This year, however, that sum was halved to £450,000, of which Coun Montaut was told his wards would receive £300,000.
He was then told his two wards – Liden and Eldene – would share a pot of £50,000.
Now he has been informed that Eldene will not get a penny of the cash.
It is understood the decision was made as Eldene is already benefiting from a £5m Morrison’s development.
“The village centre is the heart of the community and I’m worried it will be left in a derelict state now no funding will be made available,” said Coun Montaut.
Coun Fay Howard, who also represents Eldene and Liden, said she expected residents to be extremely disappointed by the news.
Councillor Dale Heenan, cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said: “Sadly the design for the Liden Centre has not started because Councillor Fay Howard, Councillor Derique Montaut and Councillor Neil Heaven have openly refused to provide any suggestions for improvements to Liden, and they do not wish to meet council officers or myself for another four weeks.” “The Eldene shop will be demolished when the new Morrisons is opened to allow a proper regeneration scheme to come forward in the future.
“It is ludicrous to waste £150,000 on an area that will be demolished.
“I am trying to work hard for local residents, but it seems the opposition councillors have different priorities.”
Work on Freshbrook village centre is expected to be finished by April 2014.
Meanwhile, the design for the Covingham Square improvements is progressing well, and will be on display at the east locality public meeting tonight.
It is on track for completion in March 2014.
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