Ottery grant - drop in the ocean

A FIVE-hundred pound gesture towards a �60,000 bid to improve West Hill Village Hall was labelled a drop in the ocean by cash-strapped town officials this week.

A FIVE-hundred pound "gesture" towards a �60,000 bid to improve West Hill Village Hall was labelled "a drop in the ocean" by cash-strapped town officials this week.

Ottery St Mary town council unanimously backed the project, which involves the complete refurbishment of the premises' toilets, as a "worthwhile cause" on Monday, but can only fork-out �500 towards it in this financial year. Villagers had asked for �7,500.

Treasurer Paul Lewis said a late grant application had limited the amount the council could pledge as it had already handed out all but �1,000 of its funds to support local groups and projects this year.

West Hill villagers have already applied for more than �40,000 from other sources to fund the project and councillors felt a failure to back the bid with a pledge would "prejudice their prospects" of securing the cash.

Fundraisers were encouraged to apply for more money later this year. The �500 grant will only be handed over if other funding is secured first.