The council will need to save around £11.1 million over the coming five yearsKeira Quirk with permission for Varsity

Cambridge's council is to set aside £20 million for a regeneration of its city centre, which will require large savings to be made.

Cambridge City Council’s “major redevelopment and regeneration projects” will focus on a new civic quarter, which will include the Guildhall, Market Square, and the Corn Exchange.

A councillor leading the project has attacked the Government’s “sleight of hand,” as the local council is left to raise the funds almost independently, he claims.

The council’s strategy and resources scrutiny committee, set to meet on 15 January, released a report earlier this month reserving £20 million for the project.

The committee claimed that the funds come from an existing council reserve. This funding, however, is subject to annual reviews: any up-or-down funding adjustment will be assessed through the council’s budget-setting process.

The Council claims that it needs to save around £11.1 million over the coming five years, although this figure could rise to £19 million.

Councillor Simon Smith claimed that incoming government funds will do little to help the council’s money-saving project.

He stated: “The settlement applies to just a small amount of the council’s general fund budget for day-to-day services. The provisional figures could add approximately £968,000 to the council’s £74million budget.”


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“This is hardly going to make a significant impact, while local authorities are left to face larger and larger budget gaps,” he said.

“Additionally, the provisional statement assumes that councils will increase their council tax income by the highest amount, effectively forcing residents to pick up the bill”, Cllr Smith said.

He concluded: “The government’s sleight of hand delivers little relief to the city council’s need to make up to £11m in savings over the next five years against cost pressures arising from the multitude of crises authorities are facing.”

The development will be discussed at the 15 January meeting.