Monday 12 September 2011

The unspent Section 106 money

Pleased to see the crossing finally installed outside Llandeilo's two primary schools a few weeks ago. I assume it was paid for with the Co-op supermarket Section 106 money which the Council had previously admitted had 'gone missing'. The supermarket was built at least ten years ago. I mentioned this last July and I suppose as the schoolchildren had waited so long, another year made little difference. ('A case of the missing section 106 money')
A recent meeting of Regeneration and Leisure Scrutiny considered a report on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to be introduced to largely replace the Section 106 system. The idea being that a rate is levied, by local area on square footage of development rather than negotiated with each individual developer who will now know the ultimate cost from day one. The rate will differ from area to area based on factors such as the local economy and development potential. Where this system is already in place (in some areas of England) the levy is higher in rural areas that in towns, and already causing problems. Apparently, the scheme requires 'robust' public consultation before it is adopted and we all know how 'robust' they are in Carmarthenshire. The CIL does not include, as far as I understand, a levy on wind turbines nor does it requires any contribution towards affordable housing. (For further details and opinions on CIL please google it).
The Council's record on negotiations and insistence on affordable housing provision is already poor, for example the Stradey development in Llanelli of 355 homes contains no affordable housing provision, this was, of course, to maximise profits. An unusual deal was struck whereby this obligation was fulfilled by a contribution to community usage of the facilities at the new Parc Y Scarlets stadium, across town from Stradey, (S106 money is supposed to be spent directly on the area affected by the development) Unsurprisingly, the 'community useage' does not appear to be very forthcoming and concerns were raised to that effect at this meeting with particular reference to difficulties faced by the local Atheletics Club

One would hope that the Council's management of the CIL will be more efficient and beneficial to communities than their current system. I notice the amount the Council hold in unspent Section 106 money varies by £400,000 depending on whether you read the Planning officer's report to the Committee....

or the Minutes of the same meeting...

Whatever the correct amount, it's an awful lot of money which I am sure would be gratefully welcome in local communities where developments have taken place and the demands on infrastructure have remained un-mitigated for years. 

Oh, and before I go and in case you missed it, here's Y Cneifiwr's views on the (as yet unused) brand new £10m HQ for Dyfed Powys Police; Dyfed Powys Police - the Major Incident Mystery

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