Colchester Borough Council’s ruling Liberal Democrat and Labour Cabinet tonight (12th July 2017) rejected the Conservatives’ call to invest more money into Colchester’s infrastructure, in particular the Local Highway Panel.

Cllr Lewis Barber, Conservative spokesman on Resources requested that the Cabinet use unallocated New Homes Bonus funds, which is money from central government for infrastructure and community projects, to alleviate the effect of building new homes, in particular to help boost funding for Colchester’s Local Highway Panel.

The Colchester Local Highways Panel consists of Parish, Borough and County Councillors who manage small but important schemes: such as 20mph limits, bus stops, minor improvements requested by local communities, but not day-to-day maintenance of the highways.

Cllr Lewis Barber added: “In most other Districts and Boroughs in Essex, the County Council’s funding for their Panel is topped-up by the respective District or Borough so that more local schemes can be delivered. Colchester is the exception. The LibDem and Labour Coalition who control Colchester Borough Council refuse to play their part in improving the road safety in the Borough.

The Panel’s aim to make our roads safer. Colchester Borough Council receives more New Homes Bonus money than any other local authority in Essex, yet only allocates 2% towards transport related projects, and none to the Local Highways Panel. It is a disgrace that New Homes Bonus funds are not use for the reasons intended.”

Cllr Dennis Willetts. Leader of the Conservative Group and a Member of Colchester Local Highways Panel added “The panel is a collaborative venture between Essex County Council and the Borough Council. Yet because the County Council is Conservative Controlled, the LibDem/Labour Borough Council is refusing to cooperate and provide matching funds, purely out of political spite. Colchester Borough Council is not pulling its weight. On matters as important as Road Safety, minor political squabbles should be brushed aside and we should all work for the common good of the Borough.”

Conservatives pledge to work for safer roads in Colchester, an will match-fund the contributions made by the County Council.

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