Conservation cash unspent

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ABOUT £70,000 of cash earmarked to improve buildings in South Holland’s conservation areas remains unspent.

The district council’s cabinet discussed the results of its 2010/11 capital programme at its meeting last week and members queried why £69,971 of grants approved under the Partnership Scheme in Conservation Area (PSiCA) scheme are unclaimed.

The grants are available for improvements needed to historic buildings that lie in conservation areas.

Leader Gary Porter questioned whether something could be done to ensure the money was spent.

He said: “There will be some people out there who didn’t get it.

“We need to put pressure on and say ‘sorry guys, you have taken six months so we are going to give it to them’.”

However, Coun Christine Lawton explained: “A lot of people put in for the money and then when they see the hoops English Heritage want to put them through it frightens some people off and they hold back.”

A report on the out-turn of the 2010/11 capital programme to the cabinet also revealed:

nSolar panels currently being put on the roof of the district council’s offices at Priory Road have cost £30,000. The money has been paid for by a loan that will be repaid through savings from the units.

nCapital funding of £550,000 was transferred from the external wall insulation programme to fund the removal of asbestos from council houses. About £30,000 of work remains to be done.

nThe final spend on the Red Lion Quarter was £93,000 over budget – mainly as a result of higher than expected costs to fit the venue out. The council will use £57,000 it had left over from the building of new industrial units at Crease Drove in Crowland to help plug the gap.