Town council’s £264,000 in reserves

CASH-CONSCIOUS Belper Town Council has a whopping £264,000 in its financial reserves.

The authority said it has been putting the money away since 2004 in case it needs to buy a new base.

A council spokeswoman said a possible planning application for a residential development on the car park at the authority’s St John’s Chapel base was the reason the money was needed.

They added: “Our car park would be lost, which would not be viable for us.”

The council currently leases its base on The Butts.

Town Mayor Cllr Alan Cox said: “We are very concerned about what may happen to our car park at the back of the offices.

“They may apply for another use on that property which would make the council chamber not viable.

“The reserves are there to stop us unnecessarily calling on the taxpayer.”

Cllr Cox added that the money was there because the council had not been spending more than its budget.

But Cllr Peter Shepherd, who was elected to represent Belper South ward earlier this year, said it was wrong of the council to build up such reserves.

He said: “They could have been spending this money on services.

“If they are interested in moving offices, they should get a mortgage.”