Reinvesting New Homes Bonus in the Community

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(Last Updated On: March 12, 2016)

Five community projects have been given an injection of cash  thanks to the South Hams District Council’s Executive Committee.  The Community Re-Investment Project Fund was first launched in October 2013, using £153,900 of the New Homes Bonus to support community infrastructure projects in communities where major development has or is taking place.

The organisations which were awarded the funding include, the Leechwell Garden Association, The Totnes Community Development Society, the Totnes Trust, Totnes Town Council and Salcombe Town Council.

Cllr H Bastone Executive Portfolio Holder for Customer First said: “This scheme rewards those communities who support affordable housing, and I am delighted to say that we have agreed to support all of these projects today.”

Cllr John Tucker, Leader of South Hams District Council added: “This is a good news story particularly for Totnes, as the majority of these projects are in Totnes.  I am pleased to be able to confirm that there are about 700 homes that have planning permission or are being built in Totnes, and approximately 1/3 of them are affordable. I think that this level of affordable housing is a remarkable achievement and I am delighted to see some of the money from the New Homes Bonus reinvested in these communities. ”

When new homes are built the planning authority receives funding from Government, called the New Homes Bonus. South Hams District Council have created this fund to use some of that money to support a range of community projects in the communities where development is taking place.

Today’s decision see projects receive funding including, a new play structure in Totnes, a link path from Salcombe to Batson and solar panels on the roof of Totnes community complex, The Mansion.

When the decision was made to award funding to all 5 community projects, Cllr Pearce, Ward Member for Salcombe and Thurlestone, and Cllr Hodgson as Mayor of Totnes Town Council, thanked South Hams District Council for the support that they have shown on behalf of their community groups.

The projects which were awarded funding are:

Leechwell Garden Association – Leechwell Garden Play Structure

A key feature of the Leechwell Garden play area trunk of a (Eucalypt tree), sadly needs to be removed for safety reasons. The project will remove the trunk, and replace it with a new, primarily timber structure, meeting safety standards and offering new challenging and creative play opportunities to children who use the space.

Totnes Community Development Society – Mansion Totnes

The Mansion is a Grade II listed building in the centre of Totnes on the High Street. The application is for funds to install a solar PV power system on the roof of the library to the rear of the Mansion complex.

Currently Devon County Council holds the building in a Trust on behalf of the town.  They are aware that the building is not being used to its full capacity and was running at a circa £30K annual shortfall.

The Totnes Community Development Society are in the advanced stages of negotiating the transfer of trusteeship of the building from Devon County Council. The proposal for installation of PV panels is forecast to provide annual savings of around £2,400 on energy bills to assist with the financial sustainability of the building.

Totnes Trust – Rotherfold Improvement Project

This project aims to complete improvements to the Rotherfold Square (owned by SHDC) which is situated at the top of Totnes Town.

Four years ago Totnes Development Trust started improving the area so that it could be used for community events, plays, etc. This funding would help the project to lay new paving, install lighting, create and plant shrub beds and install benches.

Totnes Town Council – Totnes Civic Hall rebranding

Following improvements to the Civic Hall, TTC wish to focus on promoting the hall widely to maximise benefits from those improvements. The project will: – Produce a new name and logo for the hall – Pay for professional photos for website and marketing – Create a dedicated website with online booking – Produce new leaflets (e.g. town maps)

Salcombe Village Hall – Community Link Path

The Community Link Path Project proposes to improve the surface of an informal path between the estuary and road, running from Salcombe Town Centre to Batson Village Centre. The existing path is well used, however it is largely unusable in wet weather due to its current condition. The proposed path would be circa 400m long, and 1.5m wide, and made from compacted stone suitable for pushchair and wheelchair use.

The Community Re-investment Projects Fund is running again this year using the New Homes Bonus from recent developments. The project funds are available for Town and Parish Councils and voluntary and community groups in the areas where the developments are taking place. South Hams District Council will be soon advertising when applications are open for 2016 funds.

To apply for these funds, community projects will need to be near a development with more than 10 homes, or more than 3 homes in smaller Parishes, and would have the support from Ward Councillors and the Parish or Town Council. For more information visit South Hams District Council website at http://www.southhams.gov.uk/article/5188/Community-Re-investment-Projects-Fund

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Team account for We Are South Devon.