A ROW broke out at Evesham Town Council's full meeting leaving members divided when a proposal was put forward to allocate thousands of pounds for a benchmarking exercise.

The money, a total of £2,500, would come from the New Homes Bonus funding which is allocated to the council each year in return for new housing developments built in the town.

Evesham Market Town Partnership were behind the request and will use the money for a project to help them target potential retailers for the town centre.

The total cost for the project will be £7,500 with the remaining £5,000 coming from the partnership. 

The New Homes Bonus working group recommended the money be given to the partnership.

But councillor Alan Booth was against the proposal, he said: "We seem to give a lot of money to the market town partnership. But what is it bringing into the town. I can't remember them bringing anything into the town in the last six years."

Chairman of the partnership Cllr Gerry O'Donnell hit back and said: "What a disgraceful statement by the councillor there. The Evesham Market Town Partnership has brought in a whole raft of events.

"It's brought in investment through small business grants. It's also been very instrumental in bringing in the investment that you see with Waitrose and M&S.

"Wychavon has voted to cut the funding for the partnership by £10,000. This project is very important and that's why I came in and asked for this money."

The row continued as Cllr Booth said M&S wasn't even in the town, but conceded that partnership manager Shawn Riley was a key factor in the arrival of Waitrose in the town centre.

Cllr Jim Bulman asked if the information was available else where but was told that it was not.

After the debate the council voted in favour of the proposal with three members voting against it.