To consider a report of the Head of Planning Economy and Regeneration updating Members on the progress of discussions with Homes England over the Council’s two applications for funding under the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) totalling £18.2 million, and seeking authority to enter into grant funding agreements with Homes England over these funds and to seek authority for the Council to forward fund the two infrastructure projects in question.
The Cabinet had before it a * report a report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration updating Members on the progress of discussions with Homes England over the Council’s two applications for funding under the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) totalling £18.2 million, and seeking authority to enter into grant funding agreements with Homes England over these funds and to seek authority for the Council to forward fund the two infrastructure projects in question.
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration outlined the contents of the report informing the meeting that in July 2017 the Government launched its £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) to finance infrastructure to unlock housing delivery, the Council made 2 bids for HIF funding for infrastructure schemes which would unlock development sites identified within both the adopted Local Plan and the Local Plan Review. He outlined the 2 projects: the second phase of the new highway junction on the A361 to service the Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension for which £8.2m of HIF funding was sought and the provision of a town centre relief road in Cullompton which would provide additional capacity at Junction 28 of the M5 as well as reduce traffic in the town centre. £10m of HIF funding was sought towards the £15m scheme. Grant funding offer letters for both schemes had been received from Homes England and the funding was offered on the basis of a local recoverable grant.. Funding agreements for each project had to be entered into and separate agreements were also needed with Devon County Council to deliver the infrastructure. The Council would be responding to the Local Plan Inspector with regard to his queries about housing delivery within the early years of the plan given his specific concern over the timescale of the delivery of the relief road.
The Council would be required to forward fund the projects and the £5m balance for the Cullompton Scheme would need to be funded by the Council until such a time as the S106 monies could be collected from housing development that was unlocked by the provision of the road.
The Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration provided answers to questions posed in public question time: with regard to the Inspector’s concern regarding housing trajectory in the early years of the plan, the inspector had asked for further information and had not stated that the plan was unsound. It was intended to respond to the Inspector in order to provide him with more confidence over housing supply in the early years of the plan and greater certainty over the timescale for the delivery of the relief road. She also stated that other speakers at public question time appeared to have framed support for the delivery of the road as questions. Accordingly no further response was required.
Consideration was given to:
· The time limitations set by Homes England for the Cullompton project and whether negotiations could take place to alter the milestones
· The terms and conditions for recycling the money
· Further discussions with Homes England over the project and the possible flexibility that could be negotiated
· The need for the ‘cloverleaf’ junction to finish the project on the Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension
· Highway links at Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension
· The clawback of the £18.2m from S106 contributions, legal agreements with Devon County Council and the risk
· The anticipated timescale of housing coming forward in Cullompton up to 2033
· Whether developers who had to contribute to the relief road would try to reduce the percentage of affordable housing for developments.
RESOLVED that: the Cabinet agrees to:
(Proposed by the Chairman)
i) Cllr Mrs N Woollatt declared a personal interest as she lived nearly 2 of the proposed routes and close to Station Road;
ii) All Cabinet Members reported that they had received correspondence from a councillor and from members of the public;
iii) *Report previously circulated, copy attached to minutes.