To receive an update on S106 from the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration.
Appendices 1 & 2 to follow.
The Committee had before it and NOTED, a *report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration providing a S106 update.
The Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration provided an overview of the report which set out the current status of S106 funding, the legal constraints and current governance arrangements.
She informed Members that following the adoption of governance arrangements in October 2020 the S106 Board had been convened on several occasions.
She explained that the report provided information on the financial information over a number of years. S106 refunds were when money had been taken up front and then refunded to developers if planning approval had been refused or approved applications were not built out.
The Officer explained that S106 contributions from 3 Rivers Developments Ltd were dealt with in the same way as any other developer.
She went on to explain that the Governments White Paper was likely to bring significant changes and reform for Community Infrastructure Levy (CiL) and S106 contributions. The Government was yet to publish its response to consultation on the White Paper.
In response to questions asked she responded:
· Up to date information would be provided to Ward Members for specific parishes asked for;
· The S106 financial administration was moving from the Planning service to the Benefits, Income and Recovery service;
· S106 Policy Interpretation was staying within the Planning service;
· The Planning Obligations Monitoring Officer would deal with getting applications through the process and liaison with Ward Members and Parishes. The process would be provided to Members;
· A process for updating the membership of the S106 Board would be developed;
· Consideration would be given to including the Climate and Sustainability Specialist onto the S106 Board;
· That there were no specific time limits of when awarded S106 funding should be spent but there had been no instances of money having to be returned to developers because it had not been spent on time;
· That developers were not routinely informed on what their S106 contributions had been spent on but they were given the information if they enquired after it.
There followed a general discussion on the need for Ward Members and Parishes to be involved with the S106 funding requirements at an early stage of an application. The Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration confirmed that the governance arrangements sought engagement with Ward Members and Parishes on project nominations with planning applications and heads of terms being able to be commented on and views known at an early stage of an application. Officers in Development Management had been reminded of the governance arrangements and the need to engage with Ward Members and Parishes at an early stage.
In response to a question asked about the procedure for the delegation of affordable housing offsite monies the officer responded that:
· Offsite contributions would be less common moving forward due to the adoption of the new Local Plan and an updated policy approach under Policy S3 in terms of whether affordable housing was provided on site;
· The Housing Enabling Officer now in post was a joint officer working in a shared post with the Forward Planning service which would see a more joined up approach looking at financial contributions for affordable housing;
· Often within S106 agreements there were cascade clauses incorporated which set out the sequence for spend and who would be eligible to occupy such developments
· Requests were received from providers of affordable housing and community land trusts to access S106 funding for such developments
· Further details on the affordable housing S106 funding and the need of the Housing Enabling Officer to understand the needs of the Parishes and liaising with them to coordinate the best schemes in the best areas would be made available to Members
Note: *Report previously circulated and attached to the minutes.