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£3m plan for golf and country club shelved

PUBLISHED: 11:41 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 14:59 07 July 2010

A planned investment of more than £3m into a council-owned golf and country club has been shelved due to the economic downturn, it has emerged.

Breckland bought the Barnham Broom complex several years ago for £7m using council reserves as an investment and had intended to pour more money in to help future expansion plans.

A planned investment of more than £3m into a council-owned golf and country club has been shelved due to the economic downturn, it has emerged.

Breckland bought the Barnham Broom complex several years ago for £7m using council reserves as an investment and had intended to pour more money in to help future expansion plans.

But as Breckland agreed its budget for the coming year, it was revealed that more than £3m earmarked for the complex is being kept back by the authority.

Council leader William Nunn said: “In view of the current economic climate we think it is prudent to defer that spending for this year.”

He stressed that the initial investment to buy the complex was giving a better return than if the money was in the bank.

Labour group leader Robin Goreham said: “I am delighted that that Barnham Broom Golf and Leisure capital project has been put back a year. This will allow further consideration of this controversial venture.”

He called for investment to be made in Dereham's Memorial Hall which would be a “highly popular, morale boost for Dereham.”

Rob Barlow, Breckland's assistant director (governance), said the council had been hit by £1m being wiped off investments by interest rate cuts as well as the collapse of Icelandic banks where the council has millions of pounds and also the drop in income from council fees.

Breckland gets about £11m from a government grant and £2.7m is charged to council tax payers.

Under the agreed budget, a band D council tax payer will be charged £64.05 for Breckland's part of the bill, an increase of £2.07 (3.35pc) from last year.

The amount levied by county, parish town councils and police is added on to make the overall bill.

Mr Barlow said: “We will remain almost certainly remain the lowest in England.”

Cabinet member Lady Kay Fisher said in the autumn the council had been looking at a surplus of £600,000 but the “turbulent economy and uncertain times” had changed the picture.

“We have saved for a rainy day and have adequate balances to deliver improved services.”

Breckland has pledged to spend money on an improved CCTV system, extended opening hours for customer contact centres and the Rev2 Project, which is supporting businesses along the A11 corridor.

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