Ottery residents’ �22k community cash chance

RESIDENTS in Ottery, West Hill, Alfington and Tipton will be asked next month how a �22,000 community cash bonanza should be spent-

Town councillors want residents to suggest ideas for the bumper sum, for sports use only, but fear they would be “a hostage to fortune” if the electorate were allowed to vote on its fate.

The council will embark on a public relations exercise in September to gauge public opinion on how much, where and on what the money should be spent.

Residents can make suggestions, but the council will decide which projects benefit from the money.

“We’ve got �22,600 to spend on sports projects in the parish. This is for the whole of Ottery,” said Cllr Jo Talbot.

“One thing is certain, we have to consult the electorate,” said Mayor Glyn Dobson. “For EDDC to release money for something we need to show them we have consulted, and prove it is what people want.”

Cllr Roger Giles voiced a note of caution over public involvement and said: “The town council should decide where the money is spent.

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“Giving the community the idea people can vote by numbers is not the wisest thing to do. By all means consult them and give them support- but we are elected to make these decisions.”

Councillors feared they would be a “hostage to fortune” if the community voted on how the cash was spent.

The �22,600 sum has been gathered by East Devon District Council (EDDC) from developments deemed to put a strain on the town and its surrounding villages’ infrastructure.

Civic leaders have been told the cash can be spent anywhere in the parish, and are finalising plans to ask the public what they want to see.

Earlier this year, councillors urged colleagues to consider spending some of the cash in Alfington and West Hill, which lack recreational facilities.

Under a ‘section 106 agreement’- a legal tryst attached to planning permission- developers are obliged to make a financial contribution to improving community facilities to redress the impact additional dwellings or developments have on local people.