Council confronted over centre cash

Ex-councillor raises concerns over business plan for proposed Honiton Community Centre complex.

HONITON Town Council has refuted claims that it will plunge the town into many years of debt by going ahead with plans to develop a community centre.

Concerns were raised this week over the complex’s business plan and how costs would be met.

The fears were aired during a public question at the council’s June meeting, held on Monday night.

Concerned resident and former councillor Jill McNally stated: “Honiton Community Centre Association (HCCA) has operated since June 1993, yet fund-raising stands at nil. In fact, for the last four years, the HCCA has had much less than �200 in its bank account.

“Grants were also listed – yet grant requests from the sale of Exeter Airport and the Lottery Fund were rejected.

“Borrowing �975,000 over 50 years would cost this town �2,725,022. Borrowing �600,000 over 30 years for a phased build would cost this town �1,171, 365. Both are unacceptable sums. Furthermore, this council will be committing itself to fund-raising of �233,000.

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“After many years, fund-raising stands at nil. As this is a new council, with new members, my question is - are you fully aware of the debt in which you are about to plunge this town for many years?”

Councillor Vivienne Ash refuted these claims and said: “The statements being made are totally incorrect. HCCA has done considerable fund-raising over the years.

“We actually did get lottery funding and private donations.

“The community complex association has fund-raised over a number of years. If you look at a figure of �2 million it is a lot of money at this time but, if you take it over a 30 or 50 year period, that amount of money paid back will be very small.

“It will benefit the public of Honiton. I just wish people would be more positive for the future of this town.” l See page 3.