£3million grant for newly developed areas in Basingstoke

Basingstoke Gazette: The Popley area is one of those to have seen a lot of housing development The Popley area is one of those to have seen a lot of housing development

PLACES that have seen a surge in new homes in the Basingstoke area are set to benefit from a £3million grant to improve community facilities.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has received the bank-boosting funds from central government as part of the New Homes Bonus scheme.

The scheme awards money to local authorities for a six-year period, allocating funds yearly, with the borough receiving £3million for 2014-15.

Areas in the borough that have seen a rise in development such as Rooksdown, Popley Fields and Sherfield-on-Loddon have attracted the most funding.

The scheme aims to support areas and communities that have been affected by housing growth since October 2009. For every new home built and occupied in Basingstoke and Deane, the Government gives the borough a New Home Bonus grant.

The fund will help to deliver ‘larger ticket’ facilities and infrastructure improvements of over £25,000, and has to make a significant and long-lasting impact on the local community. This can include a better broadband service or a new community facility.

The money may be used to attract or support other sources of funding, or to enhance projects provided by other bodies and the council may also apply to the fund to support needs identified by community, parish and other plans developed by specific areas or communities.

Projects may be delivered outside the area affected by housing development where the benefits for the affected community can best be met elsewhere – for example, where facilities in an area with new housing are struggling to cope with demand, this could be resolved by providing alternative facilities in other neighbouring areas.

Councillor Ranil Jayawardena, deputy leader of the borough council, said: “Thanks to careful budgeting, the council continues to provide the day-to-day services that residents rely on, and has not had to use all of this funding to support its normal spending.

“We have listened to local residents and are investing in addressing the priorities of communities where new housing has been built.

“We have decided to allocate the majority of the New Homes Bonus received to improving infrastructure, of which half will be spent through the Local Infrastructure Fund.

“We are keen for the communities that have provided more homes to get the funding they need to ensure that their local infrastructure isn’t overstretched.”

Communities in areas where housing has been built can work with their local borough councillor to bid for a slice of the grant and apply by January 31.

The deadline for the second round of applications will be March 31, and the third round deadline will be September 26.

After that, there will be two opportunities to submit applications per financial year, subject to the council policy and budget.

Find out more, at basingstoke.gov.uk/go/infrastructurefund.

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