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'Last resort' to aid north Solihull regeneration

SOLIHULL Council is set to borrow up to £30m to plug a hole in the finances of the north Solihull regeneration.

SOLIHULL Council is set to borrow up to £30m to plug a hole in the finances of the north Solihull regeneration.

Last Thursday, cabinet members considered a financial package to get the flagship project back on track.

As much as £19.6m is needed to remodel seven primary schools and a further £9.9m for the Craig Croft village centre.

The recession and withdrawal of funding has forced the council to turn to prudential borrowing as “a last resort”

Leader of the council, Ian Hedley, said that the capital projects were a priority for the council.

“It is really important that we continue to move forward with these schemes,” he said.

“We should see it as an investment in the regeneration project, which will have benefits on the area’s infrastructure, employment and people’s well-being.”

The Craig Croft development stumbled after £8.1m funding was withdrawn by Advantage West Midlands.

And the council also faces losing a £4.3m grant from Europe unless they can match the amount by June.

“If we can’t get match funding, that money will go down the drain,” warned Coun Hedley.

Tough financial conditions have also impacted on plans for the area’s ageing primary schools.

Many will now be remodelled as opposed to being entirely rebuilt, but cabinet members agreed the work was sorely needed.

A report presented to members said that the council would continue to explore alternate funding.

Money borrowed would be repaid over up to 40 years but would limit borrowing in future.

All three party leaders supported the proposals to move forward with prudential borrowing.

Coun Mick Corser (Lab, Chelmsley Wood) said that it was vital to deliver what had been promised.

“If we want to regain the support and confidence of residents, we need to finish what was started,” he said.

 

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