Friday 6th October 2017

IMPROVEMENT works worth £225,000 could be carried out on a pair of popular beauty spots.

Colchester Council has set out initial allocations on how to spend cash handed out from the Government’s New Homes Bonus during this municipal year.

Proposals set to be discussed by the authority’s cabinet next week have suggested £200,000 is spent on Castle Park, while £25,000 could be spent to create a place for people to eat in High Woods Country Park.

Last week The Gazette revealed the council is looking for private operators to come forward with plans for a splash park similar to the one in Maldon, and mini golf facilities in Castle Park.

The report set to be discussed by cabinet members on Wednesday said:

“£200,000 investment into Castle Park will be focussed on improving the public conveniences, specifically around the well-used play area.”

“Updating the facilities to meet the growing number of users and providing baby change facilities is amongst the priorities and phase 1 works for 2018/19.”

“In addition to the public conveniences other improvement areas identified for the park include work on the lower park gate, the boating lake and paths throughout the park so further work may follow if there is remaining funding available.”

“High Woods Country Park has a very limited catering offer at the moment.”

“Cabinet have set aside £25,000 to consider improving this offer with the provision of a sustainable catering facilities on site.”

“Work has commenced on looking at viable options given the new provision needs to provide an income net of any operating costs.”

“It is expected the new catering offer will be implemented for summer 2018.”

Another £50,000 has been set aside to work on a new digital strategy at the authority’s community areas.

If cabinet members agree to the funding being spent in this way, some £186,000 will remain unallocated.

So far, a total of £300,000 has been set aside to work on a proposed heat network, £250,000 for a commercial company and £25,000 for a World War One centenary commemoration due to be held next year.

A cash pot worth £750,000 has been earmarked for the sports facilities at Northern Gateway, while £250,000 will be spent on garden communities which could see thousands of new homes built in new towns on Colchester’s east and west borders, along with associated infrastructure.

Part of the report set to be discussed by the cabinet states the council is currently facing a budget gap of £599,000 for the year 2018/19.

Cost pressures set to be handled by officers include having to put on borough council elections next year, general inflation and the fact a fixed term stadium rent agreement with Colchester United is set to finish next year – with council bosses braced for a reduction.

 

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