Use of development cash 'is transparent'
SOUTH Somerset District Council has hit back at claims that money generated from developments in Wincanton, Castle Cary and Bruton is being spent elsewhere.
A team of councillors from the three towns met this month to share their views amid concerns that "section 106" money generated locally is being spent on projects in Yeovil.
A section 106 agreement binds developers to contributing towards community facilities – including health and leisure centres.
However, the district council has hit back, claiming that the system for distributing development money was "robust and transparent".
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A spokesman said: "The designated section 106 officer presents a report to all four area committees every six months.
"These highlight the agreements for that area split into wards, detailing financial contributions secured through the planning process from the particular development and highlights where these contributions are to be spent.
"These are in the public domain and can be viewed by all.
"Our process for monitoring and managing section 106 agreements has recently been assessed by an independent auditor who carried out a thorough evaluation and found that the system was robust and transparent, and has endorsed our approach."
At the meeting, Colin Winder, mayor of Wincanton, said the market towns get "very little" of section 106 cash. He said: "The whole thing about the section 106 money is that there is a lot of it available but I'm not sure how much is being spent in our towns.
"In every village there are dramatic societies or carnival clubs which are active, but they get nothing."
Alex Rubbo, mayor of Wincanton, added: "We need to find out how much money has gone to the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil when we have the Bruton Players and CaryLive which both need investment."
The group "expects" a detailed breakdown from the district by next Thursday.
Nick Weeks, district and Castle Cary town councillor, believes the towns' elected representatives deserve a bigger say in where the money is allocated. He said: "The amount of money that filters through to us is not enough."
The group meets next month.