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Newbury Town Council divvies out Section 106 money to local projects

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Council decides on 20 capital schemes with £165,580 of developer contributions

PLANS for a drinking fountain in Victoria Park, new street lighting near Parkway and a compost toilet at Newtown Road Cemetery were discussed by Newbury Town Council this week.

They are some of the 20 capital projects that the council considered when deciding how to spend developers’ contributions to enhance and improve the town.

At a policy and resources committee meeting held at the town hall on Monday, councillors voted on a range of schemes to spend a total of £165,580 in accumulated Section 106 agreements.

Not all the proposed improvements were readily accepted, however.

Speaking of a bid for £10,000 for a compost toilet at Newtown Road Cemetery, services manager Granville Taylor said: “The problem is there is an awful lot of pauper graves that are unmarked so the difficulty is finding the right area to locate it.”

Julian Swift-Hook (Lib Dem, Pyle Hill) then reminded councillors: “We are supposed to be looking here at a proposition to spend money.

“If we are going to get bogged down in the detail of what is to be done then that is really an operational matter for the services team.”

After debating the application, Anthony Pick (Con, St John’s) said that the council didn’t have enough information to make a decision and invited the Friends of Newtown Road Cemetery to make a presentation on the proposal to councillors.

Another proposal was the resurrection of a controversial scheme to erect a fence around the children’s play area in Victoria Park.

Brought forward by Mike Johnston (Con, Victoria) to keep dogs out and prevent dog fouling, the bid was blocked by the council after his motion for approval failed to find a seconder.

Fellow councillors reminded Mr Johnston of the same failed plan that first came to light in 2011 when the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents warned that a fence would present further safety issues for parents, who would be unable to see their children on the other side.

Of the other projects, Martha Vickers (Lib Dem, Northcroft) saw her bid for a “modern and hygienic” drinking fountain to be sited at Victoria Park at a cost of £1,000, approved by councillors.

Presenting a petition signed by more than 100 people she said of the plan: “I think it’s a public health issue. Some of us who are older might remember as children that we always had a little fountain in the park and it just seems to have faded away.

“It’s not a great cost I think and it would be good to introduce the principle again that our local authority would provide you with safe drinking water.”

The remaining approved proposals included new signage at Newtown Road Cemetery, benches adjacent to the A339 and a contribution of £50,000 to the remaining balance of £750,000 for the Victoria Park café revamp.

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