New laws have come into play forcing councils to publicly share how they spend money collected by property developers. The Community Infrastructure Levy allows local authorities to collect cash from construction companies who want to build new estates, to spend on improving the surrounding area for residents. The collected money may be used to fund new roads, better transport services, invest in schools or improve parklands.
In 2016, local authorities across the country collected £6 billion from developers as part of the negotiations to let housing development go ahead. But until now, how, where and when the council spends this money has often been shrouded in mystery.
Under this change, members of the public can now submit a request to their local authority, requesting details on how the developer’s contribution has been spent on the infrastructure in their community. Further changes will then be coming into play at the end of 2020. From this point, councils will be required to publish an annual report listing every CIL agreement in their region, how much money has been collected, along with how it has been spent. Again, this information must be publicly available so developers and residents alike will be able to see how the money has been used.
Other changes have been introduced to the CIL to give ‘greater confidence to communities about the benefits new housing can bring to their area’. By introducing clarity to this process and helping to allay any fears locals have about new builds getting planning approval in their communities, this change is another step to streamlining the way we build homes in the UK.
The Government continues to cling onto their target of 300,000 new homes each year, despite continually falling short. This target is now in the hands of our latest Housing Minister, Esther McVey, who is our 11th Minister in the last decade.