Extra cash for Neyland community hub questioned

Artist impression of Neyland community hub Image copyright Neyland CIC
Image caption Local people set up a community interest company to create the hub

A former council leader has questioned a decision to give £120,000 towards an over-budget community hub scheme.

Pembrokeshire has already plugged a £250,000 shortfall in the initial £2.2m budget for the project in Neyland.

The community interest company (CIC) involved says it needs another £360,000 to make the upper floor usable.

The county council cabinet approved the request, but former leader Jamie Adams felt they "glossed over some of the issues" and wants a more detailed look.

The project, on the site of Neyland Athletic Club, will include a new home for the town council and the local library.

The scheme was launched in 2014 in response to the loss of county council facilities such as the town's swimming pool, youth club and day centre.

Neyland Town Council has agreed to contribute another £120,000 and facilitate the CIC's borrowing of the same amount.

'Undermine effectiveness'

Pembrokeshire cabinet members heard the extra funding would ensure more space within the building for the county council's use.

A report warned that not having accommodation upstairs would "undermine the effectiveness of the hub."

But Mr Adams told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he was "disappointed with the level of scrutiny" of the cabinet's decision.

"I feel cabinet either glossed over some of the issues with this matter or chose not to discuss it," he said.

Councillor Bob Kilmister, cabinet member for finance, said Pembrokeshire had "already heavily invested" in the project.

"I'm always reluctant about giving people extra money but in this case I feel it's the only sensible route," he said.

The council's earlier decision to move the library to the hub is contributing £308,000 to the project.

A spokesman for the CIC said the hub - now due to cost £2.76m - represented the biggest-ever investment in community facilities in Neyland.

He said the Pembrokeshire cabinet decision meant all the required funding was now in place to complete the scheme early in the new year.

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