Row breaks out over cash awarded to town council for infrastructure

Huntingdon Town Hall

Huntingdon Town Hall - Credit: Archant

A dispute has broken out at Huntingdon Town Council over how best to spend thousands of pounds worth of cash handed over by housing developers.

The disagreement between councillors flared at a meeting of the full council on Thursday, January 14 after a proposal was put forward to spend £26,000 worth of Community Infrastructure Levy funds on tables, chairs and glasses.

The notion, according to the town clerk Phillip Peacock and the mayor of Huntingdon Councillor Bill Hensley, would help boost venue hire of the town hall, in Market Square, for weddings and other events.

A proposal supported by a number of councillors, Councillor Sarah Gifford said: “If we are going to use this as a wedding venue then we will need the furniture. People in town will have their weddings here. We need have some better furniture.”

But questions were raised at the meeting as to whether the funds should be spent on larger infrastructure projects rather than bringing revenue into the town hall.

Councillor Alan Mackender-Lawrence added: “I don’t think it sends out a very good message as we are spending it on our own infrastructure. Our first object should be to go out to the wider community to find out what is needed.”

According to Huntingdonshire District Council, community infrastructure levy funds must be used to fund “the provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure to support the development of its area”.

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Councillor Tom Sanderson said: “There is an infrastructure deficit and I don’t think spending it on tables and chairs is infrastructure. I don’t think this is what we should be spending this money on.

“I am not sure how it is infrastructure. We need to come up with better ideas. I am not comfortable with spending it on furniture.”

Before any funds are spent, town councillors have decided to run a month-long consultation to ask Huntingdon residents what they think the money should be spent on.

To have your say email the council at