Community Infrastructure Levy Governance Arrangements
Mike Holmes, Head of Planning
Objective: Consider the governance arrangements, particularly in terms of accountability and transparency (can communities see how the money is being spent and where) and comment as necessary
The Chairman introduced Mike Holmes, Head of Planning, and reminded members that this was an opportunity for them to understand the legislative requirements for governance and reporting of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), as well as giving a steer in terms of preferred options.
The Head of Planning introduced his paper, which set out the legislation, which admittedly was quite complicated, as well as all the different regulations which applied. The Government had announced, last year, their intention to change them in the longer term; but for the moment these were the regulations which constrained where and how the CIL monies could be spent. There was however, an opportunity for this authority to decide how we spent the money locally and how we would pass the money on to those that were responsible for the major elements of infrastructure, and in our case, that was solely GCC in terms of transport infrastructure only, as set out in our Infrastructure Funding Statement approved by Council last December. Though, this could change in the future.
The following responses were given to member questions:
· He agreed with the suggestion for a register for CIL, which showed monies held and those allocated (what for and details of the decision). The Leader pointed out that figures for Section 106 monies were included in the outturn report, though admittedly there was no detail as to how and when the decision had been taken to spend any of this money. The issue being that Section 106 agreements were very prescriptive in terms of what the money attached to them could be spent on and creating a backdated register would take some time and mean that resources would have to be diverted from elsewhere. This was not to say that it couldn’t be done, but he would need to look at a couple of examples to see how long it would likely take to complete this task, before committing to a timeframe for its production.
· It was within CBC’s gift to determine where CIL monies were spent, but obviously within the remit of helping cope with development; but this did not necessarily have to be focussed in the area from which it came.
· The Head of Planning had done nothing more than research in terms of Crowd Funding and was aware that Dorset had done some interesting work. The Cabinet Member Economy & Development advised that she was due to have an exploratory discussion with Dorset to better understand their approach.
· He made clear that GCC were not requesting CIL monies for education facilities and reminded members that the current Infrastructure Funding Statement set out that only transport infrastructure would be covered by CIL monies. Not schools or hospitals. Whilst charging schedules appeared to suggest that education infrastructure could be included in future statements, GCC had been explicit; they did not want CIL contributing to education facilities. He stressed that no CIL monies had yet been passed to GCC, as no decision had been made about how that arrangement would be organised (whether GCC would approach each individual charging council or whether there would be a joint arrangement). However, through work on the JCS, it was clear that there would not be enough monies coming forward through CIL or other means to actually satisfy the transport infrastructure set out in the JCS, so there would be need for further discussions in the future.
· It was the case that GCC were seeking S106 monies for the new school facility and this formed part of a wider issue of what contributions were sought from developments. GCC were keen that there be a review of the CIL process for a number of reasons including, viability, but also whether contributions should increase in line with inflation.
Members thanked the Head of Planning for what was a highly informative and very interesting paper.
The Chairman thanked the Head of Planning for his attendance.
No decision was required.