Oswestry mayor wants council's £4 million windfall funds reinvested
Staff reporter (Border Counties)
Monday 7 July 2014 15:08
A MULTI-MILLION pound windfall for Oswestry Town Council must be reinvested and potentially used for employment land, according to the mayor.
Councillor John Gareth Jones’ comments came as the local authority prepares to publish a corporate plan on how the £4 million payment after land was sold off to form the £56m Smithfield leisure development off Shrewsbury Road.
The money has been a hot topic since 2010 when the out-of-town complex, including a cinema, superstore and restaurants, was selected over three other bids.
With half of the allotted payment already secured by the town council at the end of last year.
Cllr Jones said: “We need a better return for that money. “It is a good thing for us, we are in a fortunate position to have that money in the bank, but we want to use it for the benefit of Oswestry, the whole of Oswestry not just the town centre.”
He continued: “Personally it should be used to create employment land. We need to get a return for it rather than just spending it; we need it to create more money for us.”
But Cllr Jones confirmed a decision has not been made on how the funds will be utilised or when the second £2m will be transferred. He continued: “We are just keeping it at the moment with the plans to be finalised. “We know people want to see us spending the money but we have to do it right, especially as this has gone on for quite some time.”
Outline planning permission for the 32-acre Smithfield development had stalled in 2011 the land deal between developers Liberty Mercian and town council was thrashed out.
Work on the complex began in March, this year, and will first see the completion of a new livestock market before construction begins on the leisure phases, bring with it more than 400 jobs.