THE Government has introduced new planning rules it claims will allow local people to see for themselves the benefits of development in their area.
Through the changes, announced by housing minister Esther McVey MP, people will be able to see how “every pound” of property developers’ cash, levied on new buildings, is spent to support new homes needed.
The money is raised through the Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF). The fund requires builders to cough up a contribution towards roads, schools, GP surgeries, and parkland needed as local communities expand.
According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), in 2016/17 developers paid a combined £6 billion towards local infrastructure. This in turn helped create jobs and growth.
However, councils were not obliged to report the total amount of funding they received from the levy, or how it was spent. The ministry claims this left many residents “in the dark”.
Under the new rules, councils will be legally required to publish details of the deals reached with housing developers so that residents can see how the money will be spent to the benefit of their community.
“The new rules coming into force will allow residents to know how developers are contributing to the local community when they build new homes – whether that’s contributing to building a brand-new school, roads or a doctor’s surgery that the area needs,” McVey said.
Responding to the announcement, the Local Government Association’s planning spokesman, Councillor David Renard, said: “Councils support the principle of infrastructure funding statements showing how much developers’ money is spent on local communities, and many councils already publish them.
“This work needs to be fully funded and councils also need sufficient lead-in time. The Government should further reform the Community Infrastructure Levy in the upcoming Spending Round.
“This includes removing national exemptions – which reduce the amount of funding to invest in critical infrastructure to facilitate development – and allowing them to be decided by councils at a local level.”