MORE than £1 million designated to be spent on Colchester town centre will be redirected to plug a funding gap in the council’s “investments fund”.

A total of £1.275 million will be used to address a £841,000 shortfall in the five-year span of the Revolving Investment Fund programme, designed to pay for commercial and regeneration schemes such at the Northern Gateway leisure development.

Colchester Council’s RIF committee voted in favour of borrowing the money and backed the financial state of the overall fund, which stands at £37 million.

Council leader Mark Cory said: “It’s important to celebrate what’s being done here. Every council has a capital programme but not every council has this RIF-style structure.

“It shows we’re investing in our town and we have a mix of financial prudence with some dynamic investment.”

“The £37 million of RIF is showing we’re committed to bringing in high income investment, and the secondary effect of regeneration and economic growth stimulating more jobs, and retaining jobs, has to be acknowledged here.”

Mr Cory said a report into the fund says the council is taking “a bit more risk” but the reallocation of money has to be done.

The committee heard there is a risk in relying on £19 million worth of forecasted “capital receipts”, chiefly the sale of land, which should they not materialise, will turn into long-term borrowing.

The RIF is funded by capital receipts, revenue contributions, agreed borrowing and other specific funding contributions.

Within the RIF, there is in the region of £4.74 million available for the town centre over the coming financial years.

Some of this has already been spent.

What is being diverted will also fund new allocations, including a £120,000 sport and leisure asset review focused on Colchester Leisure World, and £250,000 to finance feasibility studies for emerging projects.

Money has also been set aside for a feasibility study on Vineyard Gate and Broad Lane sports ground in Wivenhoe, design plans for St Nicholas Square, and developing the former Queen Street bus depot.

This fund is separate to the Better Colchester investment of £2 million over two years.

Committee chairman David King said: “This is a mature programme that’s been well tested in different circumstances, including in cabinet and in full council and has been supported.

“It’s bringing regeneration, it’s helpful to jobs, and it’s not just about commercial benefit and revenue streams, but those really matter.”

Listen to the full meeting online here