GREEN Party councillors have slammed the £2.5m overspend to build the first phase of the Cinderford spine road as ‘an outrageous misuse of tax payers’ money’.

Gloucestershire County Council recently agreed to foot the bill to meet the shortfall in funding for the vital road which will unlock the Northern Quarter regeneration project.

But Green councillors, who have long opposed the £100m regeneration project, say the overspend will cost £73 for every household in the district.

Cllr Sid Phelps, (Lydbrook & Ruardean, Green) said: “This is an outrageous misuse of council tax payers’ money. The Cinderford Regeneration Board were warned time and

again before work began that developing this site was a high risk strategy.

“The first phase of the Spine Road has shot up nearly 70 per cent in cost.

“We have always said that this is the right development, but in the wrong place."

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, (Quedgeley, Con) county council leader, blasted the Greens for attacking investment in the Forest which would create jobs and homes in Cinderford and said: "The Leader of Forest of Dean District Council wrote to me last month praising the Northern Quarter scheme and calling for even more investment.

“But now his Green allies are taking the opposite view and attacking investment in the Forest.

“There’s no secret it’s cost more than expected. We took the scheme on to ensure the Forest’s new college, protect millions of pounds of regeneration cash, and create jobs and homes for people in the Forest of Dean."

Councillor Graham Morgan (Cinderford, Lab) chairman of the Cinderford Regeneration Board agreed that the overspend was disappointing but added that Shire Hall had worked hard to deliver the vital road.