Sutton Council will put up £500k to get £5m back if heritage bids are successful
Historic parts of the borough could benefit from a near-£5m funding boost after the council agreed to apply for grants.
Sutton Council has applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £4.8m of grants across eight projects in the borough. If successful, the council will have to put up 10 per cent of the money in matched funding.
The main beneficiaries from the funding would be Beddington Park, which is earmarked to have £3m spent on it, and Whitehall in Cheam, which would have £1.1m spent on it.
Sutton councillors voted to apply for the grants at a meeting on March 4 but opposition councillors raised questions about the council's figures and whether the investment would result in a return for the council in the long term.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Mary Burstow said the project to improve Whitehall, a well-preserved Tudor house, could bring tourists to Cheam and make it a centre for family tree research.
She added: "The heritage Lottery Fund is asset repair. It is taking heritage buildings and embracing them so the whole community can use them.
"I want to see people exploring the house and finding out about the Tudors. I want to see it used for educational research for people to find out about the borough's rich history.
"I believe in Cheam village, that it can become an even bigger, better and more vibrant community than it is already and Whitehall is a part of that."
The grant applications are decided on an individual basis and Coun Burstow said only around 30 per cent of applications are successful at the first attempt so the total outlay to the council is not likely to be as much as £500k.
Opposition councillors proposed amendments to the motion including that locally-based businesses be used for the work but the motion was carried without the amendments.
Conservative Coun Tony Shields said: "Matched funding can be a good thing but I have no faith in [the council's] ability to run matched funds without costing the taxpayer a huge amount.
"Next time there's no money for this or no money for that, just be aware that you've chosen to spend it on jobs that for the last 26 or 27 years haven't needed doing."