Sunday, 22 December 2013

Asking the community how to spend their money

The Vision Group applied for funding on behalf of the proposed Feniton to Sidmouth cycle path:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth funding for cycling?
Vision Group for Sidmouth - VGS proposal to STC for funding
Futures Forum: Cycling: grant bids rejected, but...

The £150k on offer for sports facilities
then became £250k:
Have a say on how to spend £250k in Sidmouth - News - Sidmouth Herald

The original £150k came from S106 funds:

Sidmouth £250k giveaway winners announced

Friday, December 20, 2013  
MORE than 450 people in Sidmouth have had their say on how to spend £250,000 on outdoor sports in the town - and they’ve opted to support a variety of schemes.
In a joint project run between Sidmouth Town Council and East Devon District Council, residents voted on how they would like £250,000 to be spent on outdoor sports in the town. 457 Sidmouth Town Council area residents (including Sidford, Sidbury and Salcombe Regis) took part in the voting.
The funding for these projects (Section 106 money) is available as a result of a number of housing developments in the Sidmouth Town Council area. Section 106 money is collected from developers and spent by EDDC, which has opted to involve the community in how it allocates these funds.
Earlier this year, people who live in the Sidmouth Town Council area were asked how they would like £150,000 of this Section 106 sports funding to be spent. Nine eligible and affordable proposals were received from individuals, community groups and sports organisation. On 6 December at late night shopping, residents were asked by EDDC and Sidmouth Town Council to vote on which of these proposals they most wanted to see happen.
In addition to this, residents were asked which one of two strategic Town Council projects should receive £100,000. 
Sidmouth £250k giveaway winners announced - News - Sidmouth Herald

And much of these S106 funds came from the developers of the Fortfield:
Futures Forum: Fortfield Hotel ... to ... Sanditon apartments

Although the S106 funds from that planning approval amounted to £1.5m:
FORTFIELD: Sidmouth’s fight for £1.5million - News - Sidmouth Herald

There is also the question of 'community involvement'... 
The District Council has experimented a little before:
Futures Forum: Participatory Budgeting in East Devon
and the Town Council has been very keen to get local people voting on their favourite proposals for spending these particular funds on offer:
£150k cash kitty to be spent in Sidmouth - News - Sidmouth Herald
How would you spend £150,000? | Exeter Express and Echo

There is, however, a different take on 'asking the community how to spend their money'...

When is a “giveaway” not a give away?

21 December
When newspapers refer to the consultation about how to use “Section 106″ money for sports facilities in Sidmouth.  EDDC is NOT giving away £250,000.  
This money has been paid to Sidmouth, via EDDC, to compensate them for the concreting over of large parts of Sidmouth by developers.  It is money Sidmouth deserves but it is not a give away by anyone.  You don’t think developers would give money away.
Oh, and the money has been sitting in EDDC’s bank account for a long time before it gets spent, earning interest that they don’t distribute and if they don’t use it within a given time the developet can ask for it back – and this does happen.   There is no such thing as a free lunch!
When is a “giveaway” not a give away? | Sidmouth Independent News

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