How YOU want Worcester City Council's cash windfall to be spent

How YOU want Worcester City Council's cash windfall to be spent

How YOU want Worcester City Council's cash windfall to be spent

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

MORE than a third of people want Worcester City Council to spend its £3.1 million windfall on paying off debt - while 20 per cent say it should go on a massive new swimming pool.

And the vast majority - 38 per cent - want it to be splashed on avoiding draconian budget cuts, according to a Worcester News poll.

As we first revealed on Tuesday, the council is on the verge of finalising the sale of its Orchard House HQ complex and the Moors car park to the University of Worcester.

The deal is being finalised this Tuesday, and the Conservative leadership is running the rule over different options for spending the funds.

We ran a poll on our website asking readers to have their say and leave comments.

By far the most popular option was plugging gaps in services, despite it being the least likely one for the council as accounting rules would prevent the so-called 'capital receipt' being used on areas with ongoing revenue-based costs.

But a huge chunk of readers, 32 per cent, called for it to help pay off much of the city's debts, which currently stand at £8.5 million.

The verdict for the swimming pool will be a disappointment for Worcester Swimming Club, which is pinning its hopes on the council funding an eight-lane, competition standard facility at Perdiswell despite the £13 million price tag.

Ten per cent cited 'none of the above', with many readers suggesting alternative options altogether.

A reader called Gorecki wrote: "It would make sense to spend a small chunk on a variety of minor city 'beautification' works like painting riverside railings and repairing city centre clocks.

"They're usually overlooked as not being important enough to budget for, but make a big difference to a city's perception by residents and tourists - perfect for a windfall.

"I also think Worcester has unusually good assets in the Racecourse walk and the Diglis riverside walk, both for health and a quick way to cross the city avoiding roads.

"It would be nice if this could be addressed in some way, perhaps via a cycle priority crossing and a re-working of the river walk between the bridge and the racecourse."

Fellow reader The Villan said: "The first thing I would do is employ at least two new litter pickers with associated paraphernalia to project a clean city to visitors and locals alike."

Another online poster called Skychip wrote: "The approach into the city for visitors via London Road could be tidied up especially Sidbury."

Other suggestions include money for new youth activities, or setting up a new park and ride service across the entire city after Worcestershire County Council closes its operation down in September.

Comments (1)

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12:49pm Sat 26 Jul 14

3thinker says...

The problem is that this is a one-off 'windfall' which can only be used once. Its not therefore going to help much in terms of maintaining long term services.

Yes it can be used as a contribution to a new pool, but once its spent that's it.

However if it was used to pay off debt that will reduce debt repayments and free up annual budgets to help protect some services. If for instance the council were paying 5% interest per annum on £3.5M it would free up £175,0000 pa for the remaining term of the loan which could be used to either 'pay for' future annual revenue savings or reinstate previous cuts to priority services.
The problem is that this is a one-off 'windfall' which can only be used once. Its not therefore going to help much in terms of maintaining long term services. Yes it can be used as a contribution to a new pool, but once its spent that's it. However if it was used to pay off debt that will reduce debt repayments and free up annual budgets to help protect some services. If for instance the council were paying 5% interest per annum on £3.5M it would free up £175,0000 pa for the remaining term of the loan which could be used to either 'pay for' future annual revenue savings or reinstate previous cuts to priority services. 3thinker
  • Score: 1

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