Cash blow for villages

CASH CUTS -- Linby Parish Council faces the risk of losing out on funding
CASH CUTS -- Linby Parish Council faces the risk of losing out on funding

PARISH councils throughout the Dispatch district are set to miss out on thousands of pounds under controversial proposals to cut the amount of grant-aid they get.

In a money-saving move, Gedling Borough Council is proposing to scrap its parish aid scheme, which pays out a total of more than £170,000 to the 11 parish councils within its electoral patch each year.

The new Labour administration, which took control from the Conservaties at the local elections in May, wants to axe the funding process and replace it with a £100,000 pot to which parish councils will have to submit bids for specific projects, instead of receiving cash as a matter of course.

In the Dispatch district, Bestwood Parish Council would be hit hardest by the plans after it received more than £22,000 as part of parish aid this financial year.

Money can be spent on projects ranging from replacing street benches to providing noticeboards and improving playgrounds.

Coun Denis Beeston, chairman of Bestwood Parish Council, is also a Labour member of the borough council.

Papplewick Parish Council received £3,623 as its parish aid settlement this year and Linby Parish Council, which this year won a title of Nottinghamshire’s best-kept village, was given £1,457.

Coun Bob Brothwell, chairman of Linby Parish Council, said: “We knew this was coming when the new administration came in.

“Parish aid is being treated as if it is some kind of gift the council gives to the villages.

“But in reality, it is compensation for the fact we do not get the same services as bigger areas, such as Netherfield and Arnold.

“Whereas before we used to get a little slice of the cake, under the changes, we run the risk of getting none of the cake.

“The bigger areas can also bid for the new funding pot so we will have to go up against their projects.”

Newstead Parish Council received more than £7,000 to spend for the benefit of the community in the current financial year.

Chairman Coun Trish Wise believes that the changes would result in chaos for grassroots political groups such as hers.

She said: “It doesn’t make much sense. The aid we get from the borough council is used for the entire community.”

The leader of Gedling Council, Coun John Clarke (Lab), has pointed out that the proposals were included in his party’s manifesto in the run-up to the local elections earlier this year.

He is reported as saying: “It is our intention to consult with the parishes.

“We’re one of the only councils in Nottinghamshire to provide support to parish councils, and we plan to have a community fund which parish councils can bid for funding from.

“However these plans will all be reviewed and everyone will be consulted thoroughly.”