Doubts over government grant

RESIDENTS in north east Ipswich today questioned whether a government grant to improve the town will be used to its full potential.The Liveability fund was set up by deputy prime minister John Prescott to ensure new investment in the community and to tidy up scruffy parts of the town.

RESIDENTS in north east Ipswich today questioned whether a government grant to improve the town will be used to its full potential.

The Liveability fund was set up by deputy prime minister John Prescott to ensure new investment in the community and to tidy up scruffy parts of the town.

In the pilot scheme across 27 authorities, Ipswich Borough Council has been awarded £3.7million, of which the north east of the town will be allocated around a fifth.

People have suggested improvements ranging from new fencing around allotments to clearing parking congestion through to tidying unsightly grass verges.


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But some fear too much emphasis has been placed by the council on carrying out tasks that are its normal responsibility, such as repairing road signs and removing graffiti.

Peter Taber, a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator in Ernleigh Road, said: "The Liveability grant is extra to any other money received by the council so it should not be used to cover normal, routine maintenance."

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A spokesman for the council said: "Through the Liveability programme, we are offering an enhanced range of improvements that would otherwise put an undue burden on the council taxpayer. This is a council reaction to community concerns."

Mr Taber's comments came after a north east forum last Wednesday when some attendees felt they were not being involved enough in the consultation.

Mr Taber said: "I expected to see long lists of suggestions and feedback from our original ideas. All the councillors had computer print outs of much more detailed reports, but Joe Bloggs like me had no access to them.

"If that is the way the meetings are going to be held, there is little point in the general public attending."

Keith Evans, chairman of the Rushmere Residents Association, added: "The forums seem to be going over the same thing each time. I don't think we are that involved."

Bren McGowan, head of councillor and community services, said: "We involved councillors and representatives of organisations to look at around 200 different suggestions and sort out which ones could be feasible in the time allocated.

"From the ones that were left, we looked at what would have the most impact in the area. We needed to involve the councillors because they are going to be responsible for the money. We are still taking responses."

A final report must been given to the executive committee in November before the plans are given the go-ahead around April next year.

What are your views of the Liveability fund consultation? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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