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Tories ignore Community over Infrastructure Levy

March 5, 2021 10:11 PM

Spelthorne Liberal DEmocrats Community Infrastructure Levy ()Surrey's roads put ahead of Spelthorne's flood defences, schools and surgeries

Tories have recommended spending £5m of this levy to plug Surrey County Council's continued underinvestment in roads above the needs of Spelthorne's Schools and Doctors Surgeries, which desperately need funding

Over the last 4 years, Spelthorne has accumulated just over £6m of Community Infrastructure Levy arising from larger developments that have been built in Spelthorne. We have been concerned as to how the community could feed into this process and how this money could be allocated.

Spelthorne Liberal Democrats were dumbfounded when recommendations by the CIL Task Group, which comprised of the Leader of Spelthorne Borough Council and a Conservative County Councillor, sought to use £5m of this levy for road developments. Whilst we agree that roads across Spelthorne are in very poor condition, we do not support the use of CIL money for this purpose, to make up for Conservative mismanagement of road infrastructure over many years.

A decision to be taken on fund allocation will be decided in the near future, 9th March, by the Spelthorne Joint Committee. Liberal Democrat representative Cllr Tom Fidler has written to all members of the committee seeking to persuade them to reject this recommendation.

Sign our petition to support Tom's call for a rethink on the CIL allocation which he will use to encourage members on the Spelthorne Joint Committee to rethink how this money should be spent.

Important Infrastructure such as Doctors' Surgeries and Schools is Surrey County Council's responsibility. These organisations, Residents' Associations and the community at large have reached out to Borough Councillor Tom Fidler about trying to get money allocated for the improvements they want to see. CIL money is intended to be used to deal with the impacts of development on communities, providing improvements where the demand on services has increased.

Commenting, Cllr Tom Fidler, who sits on the Joint Committee says: "These important facilities in Sunbury, and across the Borough have been crying out for this money. They have struggled to make their voices heard given the confusing process for bidding, and they now feel that their pleas have been ignored, with the Councils trying to spend the money in this fund for their own projects before anyone else has the opportunity to gain access.

"I believe what is happening is wholly unsatisfactory. I have therefore written to all members of the Joint Committee asking them to rethink. Whilst bids made are for worthwhile projects, we should consider whether these are the most impacted facilities and whether these should, in fact, be funded from within Council's existing budgets. The Government offered Active Travel Funds for the promotion of walking and cycling improvements and the bids say that they can find alternative funding for some of these ideas. The options available for vital community services like Schools and Doctors' Surgeries have far fewer options available. These organisations have been continually looking to access this fund for years. I have been trying to support them at every turn, but it has proved to be very difficult to access vital information to make a case. This does not sit right with me as whilst funds will be replenished over time from future developments, the precedent being set is not right."

Do you agree?

Sign our petition to support Tom's call for a rethink on the CIL allocation which he will use to encourage members on the Spelthorne Joint Committee to rethink how this money should be spent.

Link to petition:
http://spelthornelibdems.org.uk/cil-survey