Having gone through the 10 Year Capital Vision on pages 93-96 of the Medium Term Financial Plan, I could find no reference to any money being spent on anything in Earley at all for the next 10 years. Can you please tell how much you are planning to invest in Earley?
First of all can I explain the context of the Capital Programme contained within the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan. This is a plan for the Borough and not a plan for the towns and parishes. Therefore, it will generally not link any expenditure or indeed savings to any particular parish or town area. This is especially so for the Borough-wide items in the capital plan like the replacement of street lights or highways maintenance.
The Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) will become less detailed as you go further out in this 10 year period. Who knows what the landscape might be then? Who might actually be on this Council by then? So it would be difficult to provide an answer to your question beyond the 3 year period identified in the MTFP pages 26 through 28.
If you look at page 27, the top graph, you will see where the funding for the Capital Programme comes from. Increasingly the funding for our Capital Programme will be coming from housing developments. As this happens that money, be it S106 or CIL, will be expected to be spent on infrastructure in the areas taking the housing. 37% of the total 10 year capital budget is already designated to be spent in those areas. I am sure you will agree with me that if an area takes nearly 3,000 houses then they deserve the improved infrastructure to mitigate against them. Unfortunately, and I am sure you will agree with me, Earley is practically “full” which means the volume of new houses built there is very small and therefore the funding for capital projects there will be quite limited.
Looking at the Borough wide items in the programme clearly Earley will get their fair share of investment through them. Whilst it is impractical to itemise every little bit of expenditure at town level a good approximation is the Earley tax base as a percentage of the total tax base. So when that is applied to the 10 year total minus the ring-fenced items associated with the new houses you get an estimated spend of £80 million or 18% of the total 10 year programme.
I would also like to stress that even where capital investment is made outside the area of Earley, it will be of benefit to the residents of Earley. This may be the provision of vital road links or the provision of school places in nearby schools.
The regeneration of Wokingham town centre was supposed to generate money that could be spent in other areas like Earley, Woodley and Twyford to help with their regeneration. How much profit are you expecting to get from the Wokingham town centre regeneration that you can spend on other areas and when are you expecting to get it?
Supplementary Answer – Provided by Councillor Philip Mirfin
Very simply, the profit that will come from the town centre will be substantial enough to support many of our critical services as we move forwards. Clearly we will be building residential properties which will be sold and commercial properties which, hopefully, we will be renting on a commercial basis for many years to come. It is yet to be confirmed as to how long and where those properties will be, but you can rest assured that, first of all, it isn’t costing a single ratepayer £1 and every £1 that comes from it in profit will be ploughed back into those essential services, as required.