ALMOST one and a half million pounds of development money is being held by East Staffordshire Borough Council following deals with building companies.
The massive amount, discovered by the Mail through a Freedom of Information request, has been allocated for spending on roads, open spaces and the arts, among other things, but remains sitting in an account held by the authority rather than being used for these things.
The lion’s share of the money, sitting at £665,736.45, is due to be used to improve the highways of East Staffordshire – something which residents and campaigners believe is in desperate need of a cash injection.
Jan Shand, chairman of Shobnall Traffic Action Group said recently that the group hoped to work with the council to ensure the highways cash was well spent, following the approval of thousands of homes in the area.
She said: “There are huge issues along Shobnall Road and Forest Road, and things are only going to get worse.
“We feel it’s now better for use to put our efforts into making sure that whatever money is available from these developments is spent in a way which benefits existing residents,”
The money has been collected under the section 106 agreement, which states those behind housing schemes must contribute a sum towards improving the local area and mitigate the impact of a development.
Almost £200,000 is owed for development in the National Forest, £42,360.20 is for the arts, £70,099.20 for environmental works, £473,691.94 for open spaces and amenities and £32,653 for housing.
Developer contributions range from £245.43, which comes from ‘small recipients’, to £184,047, from Anson Properties for an industrial development off Wellington Road in Burton.
A spokesman for East Staffordshire Borough Council said: “All S106 monies have conditions attached to them and the council looks to allocate those to the respective projects in line, as opportunities arise and to the time constraints attached.
“For example, in recent months National Forest monies have been released to support a major land acquisition south of Branston in association with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.
“In the coming weeks similar funds will be spent on landscaping areas to the front of the refurbished Burton Market Hall”.