MONEY secured by Portsmouth City Council to spend on local regeneration sites has been used to fund its property spending spree, it has been revealed.
The authority recently spent about £30m on a Matalan warehouse in Swindon, a Somerset Waitrose store and a warehouse in Gloucester.
In his latest blog post, Tory deputy leader Luke Stubbs said the council had dipped into the £50m it was allocated in the form of a City Deal from the government to fund the purchases, which it hopes to make around £1m a year from to save public services.
The City Deal was awarded specifically to the council so it could transform land around Tipner and Port Solent and create thousands of new jobs and homes. Cllr Stubbs said some of the City Deal cash has been used for other purposes in the ‘short-term’ and the council will borrow from the bank later on to replace the money its spent to protect its grant. And he said the City Deal money would still be used for its original purpose.
Cllr Stubbs said: ‘The government money will still be used for its intended purpose, it will just take a bit of time to do it. The firing range bit of the land won’t be transferred to the council until April 2017. We have also got to work out what John Henry Pounds wants to do with his land.
‘There’s no point building some of the transport infrastructure before housing is constructed. It’s only going to be there to service the developments.’