THINK big – that was the message from a Whitchurch councillor to colleagues looking how to spend more than £30,000 of Government funds.
The funds are from the Government’s New Homes Bonus, a pot of money which aims to support communities that have seen housing growth in recent years.
For each home built and occupied in the borough, the Government gives Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council a grant each year for six years. Whitchurch currently has access to £31,643, which is expected to rise to £71,425 by 2019.
The funding aims to provide a long-lasting impact for communities and it is targeted at one-off capital projects. Applications can be made for up to £25,000 by parish and town councils, community associations, public sector organisations and borough councillors.
Councillor Keith Watts, a borough councillor for Whitchurch, has proposed spending funds that are available to solve the town’s traffic and parking issues which could include carrying out a transport study and improving pedestrian and cycle links within the town.
He also proposed to set up a steering group that would be led by a borough councillor and would include the county councillor for Whitchurch and Clere and councillors from Whitchurch Town Council.
Cllr Watts told the meeting: “I think we should use it for something big. In the long run, it could be used for works on the roads and footpaths but in the first instance we do need to have a proper transport study done on Whitchurch.
“The scheme allows for each group in Whitchurch to put in a bid, and the decision will be made by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.”
Councillors on Whitchurch Town Council will now come up with ideas on how to spend the money and will work with Cllr Watts before making a bid to the borough council. The deadline for the latest round of applications is March 31.