play_arrow

keyboard_arrow_right

skip_previous play_arrow skip_next
00:00 00:00
chevron_left
volume_up
chevron_left
  • cover play_arrow

    Rother Radio (128k) Love Local, Love Music!

  • cover play_arrow

    Rother Radio (64K) Love Local, Love Music!

  • cover play_arrow

    Hit Music Radio (128K) More Music Variety!

  • cover play_arrow

    Hit Music Radio (64K) The Best Variety of Hits!

UK News

Gove questioned over why taxpayer’s money spent to fill ex-Tory peer’s driveway potholes

today29/12/2021

Background
share close

Labour has written to Michael Gove to ask why his department reportedly supported an award of £330,000 from a government fund for a bid to fill potholes on a former Conservative peer’s driveway.

In a letter, shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy demands Mr Gove release the criteria on which the decision was made, explain what steps were taken to ensure Tory councillors weren’t lobbied, and prove taxpayers’ money was protected at all times.

It comes after a report in the Daily Mail alleged that the 8th Viscount Gage used £330,000 of taxpayers’ money to repair his driveway.

The story said the government funds were applied for by Charleston Farmhouse – an independently run museum and art gallery within the grounds of Lord Gage’s Firle Estate. The trust said the track needed repair works after “poor drainage” had corroded it.

However, the mile-long drive itself is owned by Lord Gage himself.

Lisa Nandy delivers a speech at Labour's party conference in Brighton
Image: Lisa Nandy has demanded answers over £330k of taxpayers money being allocated to fix a former Tory peer’s driveway

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said the money was allocated by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership from their share of the Getting Building Fund to the Charleston Trust.

The Getting Building Fund is a pot totalling £900m worth of grants to deliver jobs, skills, and infrastructure across the country.

More on Boris Johnson

The government’s website says the fund’s investment is being targeted “in areas facing the biggest economic challenges as a result of the pandemic”.

“It is supporting the delivery of shovel-ready infrastructure projects, agreed with mayors and Local Enterprise Partnerships to boost economic growth, and fuel local recovery and jobs,” the website adds.

In June 2020, Local Enterprise Partnerships were invited to put forward projects for the Getting Building Fund – particularly those that were “shovel ready”.

Labour has suggested that restoring country estate driveways belonging to aristocrats is not an effective use of taxpayers’ money.

Ms Nandy’s letter to Mr Gove states that “filling in potholes for a Conservative peer” cannot have been what the project’s aims meant.

“I would therefore be grateful if you could let me know how this happened and what steps are being taken to ensure it does not happen again,” it reads.

“A good starting point would be to release the criteria on which this decision was made, and how decisions about the Getting Britain Building Fund are made more widely.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street to attend Prime Minister's Questions
Image: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Levelling Up Fund would support left behind communities

A DLUHC spokesperson said: “Charleston has not received any money from the Levelling Up Fund. This project was allocated funding from the Getting Building Fund by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, whose independent evaluators assessed it as offering value for money.

“Charleston is a charity-owned, internationally recognised site of cultural importance, with a museum and art gallery, and this work is estimated to provide a £1.6 million boost to the local economy by creating jobs and increasing visitor numbers.”

Lord Gage, 87, inherited his title in 1993 and sat in the Lords until his hereditary peerage was abolished in 1999.

Bob Baines, estate director at Firle Estate, told the Mail: “The Firle Estate sold Charleston to an independent charity formed in 1980.

“The access track had remained functional for farm traffic and cottages but was unsuitable for Charleston’s visitors travelling in the average family car.

“Charleston successfully applied to the Getting Building Fund to rebuild the track to improve access for visitors, create job opportunities, and support the recovery and growth of the region’s visitor economy.

“The southern extent of the new track beyond Charleston that services the dairy farm and Estate cottages was funded by Firle Estate.”

The Charleston Trust added that the new road “provides safer, easier and greener ways for visitors to reach Charleston and will help support the recovery and growth of the region’s creative and visitor economy”.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2021

Written by: Rother Radio News


Previous post

UK News

Ex-police officer jailed for attacking members of the public found dead

An ex-police officer who was jailed after being convicted of assaulting members of the public while on duty has been found dead.Declan Jones, who previously worked for West Midlands Police, is believed to have been found at an address in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, on Tuesday. It is thought he had been released from prison recently, having been sent there for assaulting two people during the first coronavirus lockdown in England.The Independent […]

today29/12/2021