Councillors reveal their £3.1m windfall 'wish list'

Councillors reveal their £3.1m windfall 'wish list'

Councillors reveal their £3.1m windfall 'wish list'

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

A REVAMP of Gheluvelt Park's popular Splashpad, new-look play facilities in St John's, a huge overhaul of Worcester's Cornmarket area - these are just some of the suggestions as to how the city council can spend a £3.1 million cash windfall.

Your Worcester News has been asking a raft of city councillors - whose input will be crucial - into how the money from the sale of its Orchard House complex can be used.

The one-off injection of money has come about after the University of Worcester made an offer for the site, which was accepted last week.

An ever-growing wish list includes:

- Improving the busy Splashpad, which has surged in popularity in recent years, focusing on new toilets right by the water facility and an area serving tea, coffee and refreshments

- More play area investment, including big upgrades to sites like Howard Road park in Dines Green, where council cuts led to goalposts being taken away last year

- Investing into the Trinity House and Cornmarket complex, part of which is currently for sale to any private investors, to make money out of it

The suggestions come just two weeks after we ran an online poll where our readers suggested paying off debt, which stands at £8.5 million, and reversing some of the cuts are the ideal solutions.

Twenty per cent of the voters, the third most popular, opted for investing in the new swimming pool project at Perdiswell.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Liz Smith, who suggested the Splashpad, said: "On a warm day it is so busy there but the toilets are right in the corner a long way away.

"Even if one child has to go, you've got to round everything up and go over and when you return, you're place has often gone.

"Three or four toilets and perhaps a kiosk serving tea and coffee is what I'd want to see, and that'd cost a very small amount of this money."

Councillor Richard Udall, from the Labour group, said: "In St John's we've suffered from play area cuts - what we really need is more provision.

"In Dines Green people are isolated after the buses were cut. Take Howard Road play area, the goalposts were taken away last year, they could go back and it could be improved a lot."

Councillor Roger Knight, a Conservative, said: "Because this is a one-off sum it would be ridiculous to use it on plugging gaps, because once it's gone it won't come back.

"For example, we could polish the High Street once a week but once its spent that's it.

"I'd like to see it used to reduce debt or create something that would bring in a new revenue stream, like redeveloping the Trinity Square and Cornmarket area."

The city council is moving all its staff out of Orchard House by March next year, taking up the ground floor of the City Art Gallery & Museum in Foregate Street.

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