Councillors argue over delay in grant money

COUNCILLORS have been slammed for calling in a funding scheme to be scrutinised, delaying £60,000 grant money getting to community groups.

Will Russell, Ann Coe and Roger McCheyne wrote to Brentwood Council’s managing director requesting the decisions made by the Asset, Infrastructure and Localism Panel on November 21 be looked over.

They raised concerns over the process of how money from the Brentwood Share Fund Grant was given out, saying consultation on the bids for the cash was “inadequate”.

The call for the Overview and Scrutiny Panel to look at the decisions has angered other members of the council, include Russell Quirk, who is chairman of the Asset, Infrastructure and Localism panel.

He feels the calling back of the decision, which has delayed the funding being sent out, is unnecessary.

Mr Quirk said: “This is a spurious load of old nonsense.

“If only these councillors would spend more time speaking up in the chamber and less time sniping about properly-made democratic decisions well after the event, Brentwood would be an even better place.

“It’s so sad that councillors Coe, Russell and McCheyne have been put up to this.

“They look like the archetypal Grinch, intent on ruining the Christmases of our borough’s hard working community groups.”

Mr Russell, Conservative councillor for Brentwood West, said it was a standard procedure being followed and was only prompted by the remarks of an unsuccessful bidder who approached him.

He added the agreed funding from November 21 will not be kept away from the groups it was awarded to.

Mr Russell said: “They had looked into it and when they came to me they said they thought the council was corrupt.

“As soon as someone says that, I have to pay a lot of attention as I’m on the Overview and Scrutiny panel, so I then looked into it myself and thought they might have a case.

“I want to make it absolutely clear that the people who have been granted funding will receive it still. I just want to see if there is anything in the way the system is run which needs to be looked at.”

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