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Millions of pounds from building developments given to community projects in Cornwall

More than £7.3m was given to community projects by Cornwall Council from cash secured through building developments during the last financial year, a new report confirms. 

Projects such as affordable housing in St Tudy, the refurbishment of Probus Recreation Ground, Wadebridge Skate Park and the all-weather stage in Kimberley Park, Falmouth, were among those to benefit from funding. 

The first Infrastructure Funding Statement (IFS), put together by the Council under new government regulations, sets out how money from housing and other building developments has been collected and then used to pay for much-needed infrastructure across Cornwall. 

The report covers two types of funding – the Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 agreements. 

Section 106 agreements are legally enforceable and are agreed with developers during the planning process, with the aim of mitigating the effects of new development through things like affordable housing and new infrastructure such as parks and schools. 

The Community Infrastructure Levy is a fixed charge made on planning applications, worked out per square metre, to fund infrastructure. Unlike Section 106, it is not negotiable. 

The first of the new reports, which are published at the end of each calendar year, shows that during 2019/20 a total of £7,389,302 was allocated to community projects from S106 money. 

A further £4,890,842 was received during the financial year, while new S106 agreements entered into totalled £5,576,017. 

It often takes time to spend S106 money after it is received, because in many instances a number of contributions are needed to fund the infrastructure required, or in the case of complex projects such as new roads, a thorough planning process must be followed. 

It is for these reasons that agreements allow up to five, or even ten years, in which the money needs to be spent – and so there will be no correlation between the reported amount of S106 money received and spent in any one period of time. 

In terms of CIL, £749,389 was collected and £67,000 was passed to Town and Parish Councils to spend in their areas in the very first payments made in October 2019. 

This is set to increase with time as this was the first year of CIL charging and payments will be made to Town and Parish Councils twice a year from 2020 onwards. 

CIL is paid when a development begins on the ground, rather than when planning permission is granted, so it takes time for the money to come through. 

The Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Tim Dwelly, said: “The collection and allocation of these funds is an important part of how the Council is delivering the infrastructure projects needed to support the Cornwall Local Plan, which covers our planning policy up to 2030. 

“It sees us co-operating with our partners and other infrastructure providers to benefit the residents of Cornwall. 

“The Infrastructure Funding Statement will now be updated every year, helping to proactively manage infrastructure delivery, in turn informing future reviews of the Local Plan.”