A tenant rep has criticised the way that the council hangs on to money that was intended to improve common areas on housing estates.
Janet Gearing, from Woodingdean Residents’ Association, said that unspent money in the resident-led Estate Development Budget (EDB) was previously carried over to the next financial year.
Mrs Gearing wanted Brighton and Hove City Council to go further and for any unspent funds for each specific area to be carried over and retained for spending in that specific area.
But she was told that any unspent funds from the Estate Development Budget were re-absorbed into the council’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA) which is funded from tenants’ rents.
The £320,000-a-year Estate Development Budget came up at a council housing management panel last week.
Reps were given an update on the scheme which enable tenants and leaseholders to bid for funding for community projects on “HRA land”.
A grant of up to £10,000 can be allocated to a project while up to £1,000 a time is available for “quick bids” for smaller schemes.
Mrs Gearing said: “I was annoyed. The council think they can do what they like with it. That annoys me.
“We were told if there’s an underspend it always went back in the (EDB) pot. Now they’re saying it goes back into the HRA.
“I said, ‘Sorry, you’ve lied to us.’ It’s always gone back in the (EDB) pot for next year. Then it was said for the last five or six years it’s gone back into the HRA. No one told me that.
“Our argument is that it’s not fair that other areas get our money. That’s what we’ve always said.
“We had a third round of bidding last year because we had quite a bit left in the (EDB) pot. I asked for it and we got it and spent it all.”
But sometimes it has not proved possible to come up with enough bids for the eastern part of the city that comply with the rules of the scheme.
Brighton and Hove City Council was asked when the Estate Development Budget rules changed but did not provide a comment.