It has emerged that Hart Council is planning secret cuts as it accelerates the plans for Shapley Heath Garden Community. They are spending money they don’t have on something we don’t need, whilst secretly planning cuts elsewhere.
Hart Council Plans Secret Cuts
The plans for cuts emerged in a budget paper considered by Overview and Scrutiny Committee. They are facing pressures from the Spending Review, changes to New Homes Bonus and Business Rates. In addition, their commercialisation plans don’t seem to be working. So, they have produced a confidential appendix discussing how and when they are going to make savings.
The context is that the council is forecasting that it will overspend by £972K in the current financial year. Reductions in revenue and increases in costs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have damaged their finances this year.
In addition, it is forecasting that spending will exceed revenue by £381K in 2021/22 and a further £1,081K in 2022/23. The pressures highlighted above will take their toll in the coming years.
This gives a total shortfall of £2.4m over three years.
Shapley Heath Garden Community Plans Accelerate
As they wrestle with the blackhole in council finances, they are pressing ahead, spending money they don’t have on the unnecessary Shapley Heath Garden Community. The Stakeholder Forum was treated to a presentation by Lord Taylor of Goss Moor on January 14th. We understand that the Landowners Forum will receive a similar presentation on February 11th.
The “Thematic Groups” that form part of the Stakeholder Forum will meet later this month and probably into February.
Of course, it is well documented that Shapley Heath is totally unnecessary to meet our housing needs.
It does seem rather odd that they are spending money they don’t have on something we don’t need. We do hope they don’t sacrifice core services on the altar of Shapley Heath Garden Community.