Frivolous use’ of community funds

NEWS that up to £5,000 is to be spent on reviewing community facilities in Soham has brought a mixed response. The money will be handed over to Soham Town Council to organise public consultation and external funding applications, after a resolution was ag

NEWS that up to £5,000 is to be spent on reviewing community facilities in Soham has brought a mixed response.

The money will be handed over to Soham Town Council to organise public consultation and external funding applications, after a resolution was agreed at East Cambridgeshire District Council's community services committee meeting on Thursday.

Deputy chief executive of the committee Cecilia Tredget stated that extra resources would be available if the review found a need for them.

At the meeting, Soham resident Elizabeth Jugg presented a petition, compiled over two weeks and containing more than 2,000 signatures of people unhappy at the sale of the St Andrew's Parish Hall site.


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She said afterwards: "It's very decent of them to put up such a large amount of money, but it seems to be very frivolous spending and many of us would prefer to see the money spent practically.

"I don't see why so much money has to be spent on a paper exercise, when we could hold a public meeting.

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"We've had these surveys before and I don't think it will move things forward. The church hall site has not been sold until planning permission is approved and we retain hope that it can be saved."

Soham Town Council and East Cambridgeshire District Council had asked the Parochial Church Council to delay the sale of St Andrew's Church Hall so they could investigate whether cash could be raised to match the developer's bid, but the PCC pushed through with a £500,000-plus deal to pay for repairs to the Grade I listed St Andrew's Church.

Chairman of Soham Town Council Fiona Ross said: "I'm absolutely delighted to have secured this money. We will look at all kinds of leisure, sporting and community venues in the town in a lot more detail than we ever have in the past. We will also look at parking facilities and lighting and estimate population growth so we can see what will be needed for the future.

"A lot of people have been saying that we desperately need to save the church hall site and they have every right to express their concerns, but we need a balance and to have a survey carried out objectively in a professional way.

"The community has a responsibility to respond and tell us exactly what they think Soham needs."

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