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Frome to grab slice of new homes cash

By Somerset Standard  |  Posted: February 24, 2012

Mel Usher

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Frome town councillors are keen to grab a slice of a Government incentive to encourage communities to embrace new development.

The New Homes Bonus scheme was introduced a year ago and offers funding to communities where more homes are being built.

The bonus will match fund the extra council tax potential from increases in the number of houses, with an extra amount for affordable homes over the next six years.

This means that for each extra occupied house in the Mendip area, and based on the average council tax band in the first year, the district council would receive £500,000, about £1 million in 2012/13, with the total grant is worth about £10 million between 2012 and 2017.

At the town council's interior committee last week, councillors expressed their "disappointment" that there had been no debate with Frome as to how and where the money was spent in the town in the next year. This is despite the fact Frome could be entitled to a quarter of the total, or £2.5 million.

Town council leader councillor Mel Usher said that, for instance, Wychavon District Council had allocated 40 per cent of its bonus to communities.

He said: "Officers estimate that 25 per cent of the new homes built in Mendip will be located in Frome up to 2016. If the same position had been adopted at Mendip as it was in Wychavon, Frome would be due about £1 million as well as any proportion of legacy projects."

Councillors accepted it was too late to claw any money back this year but will be letting Mendip know that it has several projects that would fit the Government's criteria for the funding, which includes the town centre regeneration and the River Frome corridor.

The council will also be writing to the Secretary of State drawing attention to the position adopted by Mendip and ask for a clearer picture of what the Government's New Home Bonus scheme could mean to Frome.

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