Somerset

Somerset council has extra £200m to invest in Bath area

Aerial view of The Circus in Bath
Image caption Projects in Bath and Keynsham will benefit but Radstock and Midsomer Norton will not

An extra £200m has been earmarked by a Somerset council to spend on regeneration projects over the next five years.

Conservative-run Bath and North East Somerset Council said projects to benefit from the money would include a revamp of Keynsham town centre.

Improvements include new retail units and offices, a library, and improved public space.

Specific projects in Midsomer Norton and Radstock will not be funded.

Labour councillor Eleanor Jackson, who represents Radstock, said provisions for the town had been "inadequate".

"They need to listen more carefully to what locals are saying," she said.

Ms Jackson added that a feasibility study on the Radstock to Frome railway was one of the projects the local area needed.

The council's funding from government is to be cut by £13.9m per year by 2013, with 300 jobs set to go.

'Strong financial position'

The cabinet member for resources at the council, Malcolm Hanney, said he hoped the money would improve the lives of local people.

The council also hopes the investment will encourage more private and public sector companies into the area.

Mr Hanney also said extra money would be pumped into affordable housing and highways maintenance.

"Some of it has obviously been planned but many of the amounts are additional," he said.

"The fact that we're able to continue to do that at a time we're under pressure, I think reflects that we have ensured we are in a strong financial position."

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