Agenda item

Community Infrastructure Levy Allocation and Spend Process

The report of the Director of Development and Economic Growth is attached.


The Portfolio Holder for Business and Growth, Councillor Edyvean presented the report of the Director – Development and Economic Growth outlining the draft Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Framework Appraisal document and the proposed allocation and spend process.


Councillor Edyvean confirmed that the CIL had now been in force in the Borough for two years, and the proposals being considered had been scrutinised by the Growth and Development Scrutiny Group and approved by Cabinet.  Council noted that the report set out the criteria for using CIL money, together with ways in which the funds could be spent across the Borough and a list of potential projects, details of which were highlighted in the Appendix to the report.  


Councillor Edyvean referred to section 4.12 of the report, which outlined the process for the protocol of spending CIL funds.  Council noted that within the report, reference was made to the additional money, which would be made available to both parished and non-parished areas without a Neighbourhood Plan.  Currently, parishes with a Neighbourhood Plan were allowed 25% of CIL monies collected within their parish, and that money could be used for local projects, within the guidelines of the CIL protocol.  By law, parishes or areas without a Neighbourhood Plan were only allowed to receive 15% of CIL monies

and Council was advised that it was the wish of both the Scrutiny Group and Cabinet that this percentage should be levelled up by giving an additional 10%.   However, it was stressed that the additional 10% would have to be spent locally and within the strategic spend priorities.


In conclusion, Councillor Edyvean referred to comments received from Councillors regarding the importance of ensuring that CIL monies were spent, and Council was advised that parishes without Neighbourhood Plans would be offered support and advice regarding spending the additional funds in a timely manner.  An information pack was being produced and Councillors would also be offered training, to allow them to help their own parishes and communities.  Clerks would be given training, there would also be regular updates at the Town and Parish Forum meetings and finally, there would be annual monitoring, and parishes would be encouraged to spend their CIL monies.


Councillor Moore seconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak.


Councillor J Walker referred to the complexity of CIL and recognised the difficulties for officers in dealing with this issue.  Council was informed that the Labour Group supported any scheme, which brought money into local communities and asked that parishes and communities continued to be offered support as they navigated this difficult process.  Councillor Walker concluded by referring to real life problems being caused by inconsistent policies, and in welcoming the progress made through this report, reaffirmed her objections to the overly bureaucratic and complex nature of the process that could see communities not accessing funds.


Councillor Jones confirmed that in supporting the recommendation, the complexity of the issue was acknowledged.  As West Bridgford had no parish council, it was hoped that the consultation would be as extensive as possible, to cover all community groups.


Councillor R Mallender welcomed the report, thanked officers, and reiterated the complexity of CIL funding.  It was pleasing to note that training would be made available, and the information pack too, and it was hoped that this support would be extended to West Bridgford, in particular the West Bridgford Area Local Forum.  Council was advised that a community group in West Bridgford was currently working on its own Neighbourhood Plan, which was very encouraging.


Councillor Thomas stated that the Council had been collecting CIL monies for over two years, and as yet, none had been spent from the strategic CIL pot.  The report did not identify what the money would be spent on, it simply described the process that would be used, which was only a small step forward, as the funds continued to be collected.  Council was advised that the single most important issue to local residents concerned the lack of infrastructure being built to support the increasing number of new housing developments.  Councillor Thomas noted that developers were contributing significant sums, and it was hoped that everyone would agree how important it was to use those funds.  Officers were thanked for their hard work, and it was acknowledged that the processes in place were mostly sound; however, Councillor Thomas considered that the provision for areas without a Neighbourhood Plan to be able to access an additional 10% of funding would be unworkable, and given the complexity of the CIL regulations, there would be very little flexibility as to what that 10% could be spent on.  Councillor Thomas considered that the process  would add an additional layer of complexity, take up officer time, frustrate and confuse parishes and local communities, and worst of all, it would tie up the money and slow down the process further.  Councillor Thomas concluded by welcoming the assurances that training and advice would be made available and reiterated the importance of that being clear and understandable for everyone,  with input from scrutiny on the drafts, and that a date should be set for the infrastructure list to be reviewed, with Councillor involvement. Councillors should also be provided with regular reviews of funds spent and those remaining, at least annually, and finally the importance of all Councillors understanding the process was emphasised. 


Councillor Butler referred to his role as the Vice-chairman of the Growth and Development Scrutiny Group and confirmed that members had worked extremely hard on this issue and he was pleased to support the recommendations.  CIL and Section 106 contributions were complex issues, and the importance of training had already been raised, and Councillor Butler suggested that developers and applicants would benefit from training and advice as well.


Councillor Upton referred to Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council and confirmed that when the Parish Council had been preparing its Neighbourhood Plan, it had received considerable advice and support and he advised that there were now five or six plans being prepared in the Borough, which were in themselves complicated.  Council was reminded that in late 2019, it had adopted the CIL and Councillor Upton confirmed that it had been agreed at the time that all areas would receive 25%, not just those areas with a Neighbourhood Plan.  The complexity of the issues was reiterated, it was acknowledged that it had taken time to come to this point, and this would provide an equitable solution to ensure that all areas were treated equally, especially areas that did not have the resources to develop a Neighbourhood Plan.


Councillor Moore supported Councillor Upton’s comments and stated that he had never agreed with the disparity between areas and also acknowledged that it was a slow and complex process, and it was therefore important to support the report and ensure that money could be distributed as soon as possible.  Councillor Moore advised that as of today, £6.3m of Section 106 money had been either spent or allocated in East Leake.


It was proposed by Councillor Edyvean and seconded by Councillor Moore and RESOLVED that:


a)     the adoption of the draft CIL Framework Appraisal document and the proposed allocation and spend procedure be approved; and


b)      the Director – Development and Economic Growth, in consultation with the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Business and Growth be delegated authority to make minor amendments to the Framework, as necessary.

Supporting documents: