TWO neighbouring councils are calling for a ‘fairer and simpler’ way of sharing out a £1 million grant for communities hit by new housing developments.

Cheshire East Council handed out the first £1 million of its New Homes Bonus scheme earlier this year, but is considering delaying the second £1 million by a year to review the way it decides how parish councils and community groups should receive the money.

Now, Middlewich Town Council and Holmes Chapel Parish Council – which both missed out in the first round of the £2 million scheme – are calling for the rules to be changed.

In a letter, Tina Cartlidge, clerk of Holmes Chapel Parish Council, said: “The members of Holmes Chapel Parish Council were disappointed with the manner in which funds were distributed in the first tranche of the New Homes Bonus.

“Holmes Chapel Parish Council feels strongly that the service centres which have to deal with the increased population and impact on the infrastructure should have a fair say in how any funds are distributed.”

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For the first £1 million, CEC divided the cash – which comes from central Government as an incentive for new homes being built – between seven areas of the borough, with the areas having most homes built from 2011 to 2017 receiving more cash.

Both Middlewich and Holmes Chapel fell into the Congleton zone for the New Homes Bonus, but no projects from either place were awarded funding, despite 2,311 homes being built across the two since 2010.

At Monday’s Middlewich Town Council meeting, Labour Cllr Gareth Williams said: “This is exactly what we argued in the first round of the New Homes Bonus. The whole way it was set up by CEC was just ridiculous.

“The basic principle of this is to help those impacted most by houses but the payments bore no relation at all to where the houses were being built. It’s just wrong.”

Members of Middlewich Town Council agreed to support a proposal from Holmes Chapel for a new way of dividing up the second £1 million – which would split up the cash based on the number of new homes built in each town or parish since 2010.

That would see Holmes Chapel receive £28,602 from the next allocation, and Middlewich receive £45,834.

At a recent CEC meeting where plans to review the New Homes Bonus scheme were discussed, Cllr Amanda Stott, cabinet member for finance, ICT and communications, said: “I think many members were concerned.

“There was a general feeling that perhaps it hadn’t been rolled out in the same way as the original goals had been set.”

The proposal is included in CEC’s draft budget for 2020-21, which is out for consultation until December 6.