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Row over Risborough Springs proposal continues
A COUNCIL says it submitted a planning application to expand a leisure centre to see whether the scheme would actually be viable.
Princes Risborough Town Council branded Wycombe District Council “arrogant” for ploughing ahead with a the proposals to extend Risborough Springs without consulting town councillors beforehand.
The £1.2m project would extend the leisure centre in Stratton Road onto land owned by the town council.
But WDC’s Cabinet member for Economic Development and Regeneration Cllr Tony Green said there would be little point consulting PRTC if planning experts ruled the project was not possible.
He said: “We submitted the application to ascertain whether it was a permissible project in planning terms, then we would speak to the town council to seek permission.
“There would be little point consulting on a scheme that may have not have obtained planning consent, in which case the application would have been withdrawn.”
The town council were also annoyed that £145,000 in developer funds which it had earmarked to update the community centre in Stratton Road could be used to help fund the project.
Cllr Green said he understood funding was there for feasibility work on the community centre and WDC hoped both schemes would succeed as they would benefit the residents of Princes Risborough.
Cllr Alan Turner, district councillor and chairman of Risborough town council, raised the point at Monday’s Full Council meeting.
He said he felt “somewhat reassured” about WDC’s proposals but still had serious concerns about the allocation of the Section 106 money.
Cllr Turner asked WDC to put the funding matter before its Improvement and Review Committee as, otherwise, “it would raise serious questions about the council’s transparency”.
He later told the BFP: “We have been talking to WDC about that money for two years and without it we can’t get match funding.
“They’ve since decided to reallocate that money to the Risborough Springs scheme, which is very unfair as they don’t appear to have followed the same bidding process that everyone else is expected to do.”
WDC said a report detailing how S106 funds would be spent in 2013/14 was taken to, and approved by Cabinet in February 2013 and, as more than five days have now passed, the decision can not be called in.
The council added it first became aware of the community centre trustee’s plans in the summer and the money has never been allocated to the community centre proposals.
WDC said: “These funds weren’t ever allocated to a community building at Stratton Road and we have subsequently explained to Princes Risborough Town Council (PRTC) and the Trustees that the S016 funds have been allocated to the Risborough Springs extension.
“We would of course like to see both schemes succeed as they will both benefit the residents of Princes Risborough. As such we are keen to help PRTC and the management committee make a tangible start to its project. Scoping it in detail is the next logical step.
“We will make funding available for feasibility work on the community centre project. Undertaking the feasibility work will enable all parties to understand the costs of building the scheme.”
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