NINE years ago in May departing Chief Secretary of the Treasury Liam Byrne left a note for his successor after the result of the general election – “I’m afraid there is no money.”

Christchurch Borough Council’s finances will not run dry when the local authority is abolished in 10 weeks, but plans are in place to leave a lasting impression.

The updated capital programme ahead of Wednesday’s resources committee meeting revealed just under £7.3million of investment could be contractually tied down across the final year of the council by the time Local Government Reorganisation comes into force.

This budgeted spending from April 2018 to March 2019 comes through various sources, such as funding grants and the local authority’s reserves.

The figure could drop to around £6.1m depending on current elements of the programme which have not been contractually secured.

Those projects that are not guaranteed will be placed within the capital programme for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.

Big spends this financial year include:

  • £1.7m as part of Highcliffe Castle Phoenix Flies Project (supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund).
  • £1.2m play project to overhaul facilities.
  • £887k Highcliffe Castle zig zag path rebuild.
  • £319k car park reconfiguration works.
  • £281k town centre strategy for improvements.
  • £200k Avon Beach promenade reconstruction.
  • £175k Saxon Square toilets reprovision.

Both the budgeted affordable housing (£591,000) and temporary accommodation (£565,000) allocations are marked as amber in the programme, meaning council officers are uncertain if they will be contractually secured by the end of March.

The local authority has already agreed to utilise almost £1.4m over the next three years even though it will no longer exist.

This finance includes the repair work at the Regent Centre building, which is owned by the council but managed and operated on a day-to-day basis by registered charity Regent (Christchurch) Ltd.

Cllr Colin Bungey said all of the investment had been in the best interests of Christchurch residents.

“These are projects that need to be done,” he said. “We cannot guarantee this work will be carried out if it is not confirmed when the time comes for the council to be abolished.”