Time limit extended for bids to make local community improvements

LOCAL people around Cambridgeshire can now bid for County Council cash for highways projects which will improve their community – and the time limit has been extended to give people more time prepare their submissions.

The County Council has adopted a new approach which gives local communities a real influence over minor highway improvements – and details of how to apply for the cash are now available online. The closing date for bids has now been extended until February 1, 2012.

For many years the County Council contributed towards a jointly funded programme with district councils. Typically the authority made around £200,000 available. But the level of interest from the districts has reduced and the county council is now looking at ways to make the cash available directly to communities at a local level.

Successful projects would be those which provide improvements considered to offer benefit to the local community and have the support of local people. Parish councils, community and residents groups and charities are eligible to bid.

Details of how to apply are now available at: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/localism/Minor+works+funding+opportunities.htm

Bids up to a maximum of £10,000 each are invited and there will be an expectation that the bidder will provide some level of financial contribution to the overall cost of the project – with a minimum contribution of 10% anticipated.

Successful projects could include better signing and lining, speed reduction measures, dropped crossing points or a new bus shelter.

County Council Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure, Councillor Steve Criswell, said: “Local people know best what is needed in their community and this is an excellent opportunity for them to put forward ideas for local priorities and improvements to the highways network which would benefit everyone in their area.

“This is a real opportunity for the local community to have a genuine influence over what goes on in their area and to work in partnership with the county council – localism at its best and we have extended the time limit beyond the festive season to provide more time for local organisations to prepare their bids.”

Bids will be assessed by an advisory panel of County Councillors for each district area of Cambridgeshire. The panels will take into account the views of parish councils and district councillors, before making recommendations to the county council for funding.