£20k of £39 million to be spent on Taunton canal improvements

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By abbie_taunton | Thursday, January 31, 2013, 12:37

Building projects worth nearly £39 million have been announced by Somerset County Council as it comes under fire over spending cuts which would cut dozens of jobs.

The projects range in value from £7 million on repairing schools to £20,000 for improving the Bridgwater-to-Taunton Canal.

"Not a penny of this £38 million will be money borrowed by the council," said leader John Osman. "All the investment will come from either our own funds, or grants from the Government and other bodies."

Close to £23 million will be spent on roads and bridges, £3.5 million will help provide school places and £164,000 is set aside repairs to bridges on the rights of way network.

The £38.72 million does not include £21 million earmarked for the Northern Inner Distributor Road for Taunton.

The proposals for the building projects were released by Scrutiny Committee members on 29 January.


John Osman continued: "We will be spending more than a million pounds replacing rundown temporary classrooms, and it is vital that we give our children the best possible opportunity to learn, that means the best buildings we can provide."

"This spending boost for Somerset is important for our residents but will contribute to the overall national economy too," he added.

Last week, the Council published a package of budget announcements that revealed a £20 million gap between estimated income and expenditure, which will be bridged using a range of savings within services.

The gap could not be filled using funding designated for infrastructure and other investment projects.

Councillor Sam Crabb commented: "Most of this £38.7 million investment will be money coming from grants from the Government and other bodies.

"A small amount from the County Council, which has come from the selling of part of the County Farm estate, something the Lib Dem group opposed strongly."

"It is great that this money will enable the Council to spend more than a million pounds replacing rundown temporary classrooms, we must continue to invest in our children, and having good classrooms is a high priority."



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