Plans to cut red tape and unlock community cash
Changes are being made to cut through red tape and make it easier to unlock cash to be spent on community projects.
Council bosses are altering the way section 106 payments – made by developers as part of deals to build in the borough - are allocated.
The cash is set aside for projects benefiting the community, but agreed time limits mean the money will be returned to developers if it is not spent by a certain date. There is currently £1.7 million available to be spent in the section 106 pot.
The current regulations for section 106 stipulate the cash must be spent in the ward area where the development is taking place.
Due to recent law changes, council bosses are able to relax the strict criteria and allow funds to be spent in the community forum area where developments happen. It means there will be two or three wards eligible each time, as opposed to just one.
Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:
We currently have a pot of money given to us by developers to improve the borough available to be spent. We only have so long to use it, and after that we have to return it to the developers by law.
We obviously don’t want to do that, we would much rather see it spent in our communities.
The problem with the current system is that it is too restrictive, and that in many cases there simply aren’t any projects in the ward areas that are suitable for the funding. As a result, it sits unspent and builds up.
“By relaxing the strict criteria - which we can now do thanks to recent law changes - it will cut the red tape, allowing us to spend it on worthy projects and schemes.
Decisions on where the cash will be spent will be made by the council’s director of regeneration and enterprise, in consultation with ward members.