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Getting to the bottom of the Community Infrastructure Levy

December 11, 2020 5:24 AM

Spelthorne Liberal Democrats CIL (Spelthorne Liberal Democrats)Cllr Tom Fidler has been making sure we get the infrastructure in Spelthorne we need and communities want

What is CIL?
The Community Infrastructure Levy (the 'levy') is a charge which can be levied by local authorities on new development in their area. It is an important tool for local authorities to use to help them deliver the infrastructure needed to support development in their area. - See more at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/community-infrastructure-levy
How much money is in the pot?
Spelthorne has been collecting it since 2015 and has over £5.5m in the pot - Latest figures can be found in the Annual Monitoring Reports published here https://www.spelthorne.gov.uk/article/17654/Authority-Monitoring-Report-
What has Spelthorne used its CIL for so far?
So far the only return from the CIL pot has been a contribution for Surrey County Council's Staines Wider Transport Package for £365,000 - More details on the decision and the meeting of the Joint Committee at which it can be used is here https://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=502&MId=5466&Ver=4
Who decides on CIL?
As you can see from the meeting above, recommendations are made by the CIL Task Group made up of officers with the Leader of Spelthorne Borough Council and the Chair of the Spelthorne-Surrey Joint Committee. These are then considered by the joint committee for a final decision.
So why is it not being spent?
This is the question we are trying to answer. Cllr Tom Fidler believes that the process has to change to be made accessible and that we should be supporting infrastructure bodies to make bids and use this money as we are seriously lacking investment.

It seems that other pots of money are being used, but CIL is just accumulating and not delivering. Part of the remit of this fund is that it must be used to 'support development', but given we are already seeing major projects going ahead across the borough, this should already be returning value to residents for Schools, Doctors Surgeries, Hospitals, Roads and Transport and yet it is not. This has to change.

Spelthorne Liberal Democrats are also pressing the Council over the Infrastructure Delivery Plan, a document that goes along with the Local Plan for any development that is proposed to take place over the next 15 years. Locally, we believe that much of this infrastructure is delivered before the building of additional housing to ensure we do not create further backlogs and problems down the line.

Cllr Tom Fidler has offered his services in making changes if required to support the use of CIL appropriately. He has asked for this to be discussed at the Joint Committee to improve the process, and is also discussing what can be done within Spelthorne to ensure responsible spending of this fund and an accountable process.

Are you involved in delivering services in the Borough that have explored the use of CIL? Talk to us about your experiences and let us see what changes we need to make.