A £2M windfall from a land deal might not be re-invested in this borough.
Councillors have expressed their surprise that the cash cannot be kept just for Ellesmere Port & Neston, and must go into the general funds of the new Cheshire West & Chester Council (CWCC).
Currently run by a Shadow Authority (SA), the Tory-led CWCC will replace the borough council and its counterparts in Chester and Vale Royal in April 2009, running every council service.
This borough is to get a capital receipt of £2,387,700 after entering into an agreement with Sainsburys and developers CTP Ltd as part of the huge Neston town centre redevelopment scheme.
This will see a new supermarket, car park, town square, offices and homes.
The borough council will also get £750,000, which it can spend specifically on environmental and town centre improvements in Neston.
Resources committee chairman Cllr Joe O’Rourke (Lab, Sutton) said: “We cannot ring-fence the entire £2m for Neston, and that was the decision of the SA. But there will be the £750,000 which we can spend in Neston.”
Council leader, Cllr Justin Madders (Lab, Ledsham), said they had to balance the SA’s decision with the borough’s “long-standing commitment” to invest in the small market town.
He added: “It was my understanding that money raised from selling land (in Neston) would have been used for the benefit of that area.
“Neston has not had investment and this council should have been allowed to see this scheme through.
“Hopefully we won’t be stymied by the SA’s decision.”
Cllr Peter Shephard (Lab, Rivacre) said: “Our plan was to improve Neston town centre and that’s why I’m in favour of this money being spent in Neston.”
Cllr Keith Butcher (Lab, Rossmore) said Neston organisations would have been expecting some of the £2m to head their way.
Cllr Brenda Dowding (Con, Parkgate), said the SA has already decided never to promote one town or area above another.
She added: “There’s the assumption here that this money is not going to be spent in Neston.
“The SA wants the best for the whole area. That’s why it didn’t ringfence the cash. But it might still be their intention to spend it in Neston.”