Sutton Bridge Community Centre cash decision on hold

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A DECISION on whether to release almost £100,000 to complete work at a village community centre has been put on hold.

Members of South Holland District Council’s cabinet decided to delegate the final decision on funding for Sutton Bridge Community Centre to the council’s economic development manager and portfolio holder – but said it should only be paid if several issues are resolved first.

The community centre’s committee had asked for £97,000 to allow stairs and/or a lift to be installed and to partially fit out the first floor while builders are still working on the site.

The money would include £31,154 from a ringfenced fund of £450,000 for the project, and £65,846 from the section 106 fund from Sutton Bridge Power Station.

Coun Howard Johnson, portfolio holder for economic development, said the money would enable the centre to be completed and be fully operational by September.

He described it as a “long, on-going saga” and said the centre’s committee had provided a 12-month budget and five-year plan, as well as a letter from building firm Langwith Builders confirming the £97,000 costs of the work.

However, at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, council officers were unable to clarify a number of questions put forward by councillors.

Coun Paul Przyszlak wanted to know whether the £468,846 already transferred into the community centre’s bank account had been paid against invoices.

He also questioned whether Sutton Bridge Parish Council, which had previously agreed to take on responsibility for the project should it fail, agreed to increased liability.

Council leader Coun Gary Porter suggested there could be an opportunity for a partnership between the parish and district councils and ward members to cover the funding, with £30,000 coming from each of the councils’ 106 funds.

He also raised concerns about the building work estimates.

“I am concerned there is still no detailed estimate apart from this letter,” he said. “I expect them to get at least one other quote from a local builder to see that it represents value for money because I am not convinced it does.”