Row brews over hall homes cash

Meeting at Lytham Cricket Club to call for a new residents association to be set up to fight the sale of social housing bungalows at an estate on Melton Grove, Lytha,
Meeting at Lytham Cricket Club to call for a new residents association to be set up to fight the sale of social housing bungalows at an estate on Melton Grove, Lytha,
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THE controversial sale of retirement bungalows could be used to fund Lytham Hall, it has been revealed.

Fylde Council is set to sell Lytham’s Melton Grove housing estate, and this week announced plans to donate £300,000 of the proceeds to the Save Lytham Hall appeal.

Hall managers Heritage North West are battling to raise £3m by the end of March – but the council’s proposal to contribute has been branded a vote-winning exercise by opposition leader Coun Liz Oades.

The recommendation for ruling councillors to approve the grant when they meet on Wednesday comes despite a previous pledge from leader Coun David Eaves all councillors would debate where the money was spent.

“It’s buying votes and it’s disgraceful,” said Coun Oades.

“It’s very naughty and to me it’s sheer gerrymandering.

“David Eaves gave an undertaking that we would discuss how the money would be used. If you’ve already got a decision on the table it takes away that avenue of debate because you already have a body of people who say they are giving £300,000 away.”

Opposition councillors proposed as part of their alternative budget any money from Melton Grove should be used to pay off the council’s debt.

According to cabinet papers, this would save the cash-strapped council between £24,000 and £60,000 a year in debt repayments.

Deputy leader Coun Sue Fazackerley said she remained “completely committed” to the issue being discussed by full council.

She said: “There’s a very tight deadline with Lytham Hall’s heritage lottery bid.

“We did make a pledge that it would be discussed by full council and I personally am completely committed to that.”

The issue of the sale – already agreed in principle – is due to be debated on Thursday, after a “call-in” was submitted asking the council’s policy development scrutiny committee to examine whether a sale was in residents’ best interests.