Council made offer... with a catch

LAND and £350,000 has been offered to St Neots Town Council on the condition that it is used to establish a new community centre for the town. The offer, which is linked to the building of a community centre on the Loves Farm development on the outskirts

LAND and £350,000 has been offered to St Neots Town Council on the condition that it is used to establish a new community centre for the town.

The offer, which is linked to the building of a community centre on the Loves Farm development on the outskirts of the town, was announced at a meeting of St Neots Town Council.

Speaking at the meeting, Dan Smith, head of community development at Huntingdonshire District Council, asked the town council if it would be prepared to be the legal owner of the building, which will be next to a new primary school.

Mr Smith explained that Gallagher Estates had agreed to provide the money to build the community centre for the new estate, which will eventually have 1,350 homes.

However, Gallagher will not be building it themselves and councillors are not convinced that the money - £300,000 for the build and £50,000 to equip it - will be enough.

Cllr Gordon Thorpe said: "I am a bit concerned that £300,000 would not be enough to provide the centre."

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Cllr David Harty added: "You will not build this project for £300,000 alone. I think Cllr Thorpe is right to be concerned about the long-term cost implications of this project on the town council.

"We must certainty get more information before we discuss this further."

Mr Smith admitted that he expected the "figures to increase" but he did not know by how much. He also added that there might be grants available to help cover the cost of the building.

The town council decided that more detail was needed before it made a decision and asked Mr Smith to ask HDC if it would be willing to contribute financially to the project.

Speaking to The Hunts Post, Philip Devonald, town clerk, said: "People should not get carried away. This is not going to be a hall. It is a small scale project and will probably consist of community rooms.

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