We have put a robust system in place to make sure we can deliver community benefits gained through planning obligations in the current economic climate.
An officer manages the process of ensuring payment of obligations and the delivery of agreed projects. We have also established two officer working groups that deal with public open space and transport infrastructure obligations. These groups identify money available to spend, suitable projects and, if possible, how the money might be used to encourage other funding.
Before the introduction of CIL we have sought contributions towards public open space, footpaths and cycleways, and transport infrastructure and services through S106s. These infrastructure types will now be delivered through the Community Infrastructure Levy, but we will continue to spend those monies we have already received, or are due to receive in the future, which relate to existing S106s.
Money must be spent in an area local to the development site, and schemes should be linked directly to the proposed development. Each planning obligation states:
Use of the monies must adhere to that specified through the planning obligation.
The Public Open Space Working Group includes officers from our planning, legal, leisure and ground maintenance divisions.
We work with Parish Councils and Councillors to identify suitable schemes that will provide or improve areas of public open space in a local area. Formal proposals are then put before the officer working group to check that the scheme meets the specifications of the S106 Agreement. A report is then prepared for Cabinet. Subject to approval, the working group then oversee the delivery of the scheme to make sure the community benefits are delivered.
Public open space money has been used to improve existing areas of open space including play areas in urban and rural towns and villages.
The working group for transport infrastructure has been set up, led by officers from the Directorate of Development and Regeneration Services. It includes officers from Regeneration and Estates, and the County Council (including their Cycle Provision Officer and their Public Transport Officer). Officers identify transport improvements that will be likely as a result of a specific development, and also improvements that can help to meet the wider needs of a local area.
When the initiatives have been suggested, they are set out in a report for Cabinet to approve and presented to the Council's Planning Committee for consultation.
Examples of the use of transport infrastructure money include:
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