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Wiltshire Council sitting on £27million of infrastructure cash

January 31, 2014 5:43 PM

A question from Cllr Terry Chivers to the WC cabinet member for planning Toby Sturgis has revealed that huge amounts of money earmarked for roads, schools, public open space and affordable housing are not being spent. Section 106 agreements are legal undertakings by developers to provide funds for the public infrastructure required as a result of the development.

Here's the question:

Councils across England hold £1.5bn in unspent money from section 106 agreements.
How much unspent money is this Council holding in 106 agreements, and how much has been returned to developers since this council was formed?

And the answer:

At 31 December 2013, Wiltshire Council held a total balance of £26,825,416 in unspent Section 106 monies. The split of these funds was as follows
Public Open Spaces £10,709,470
Highways £8,259,410
Education £3,507,075
Affordable Housing £4,146,621
Other Departments £202,839
Total £26,825,416
This balance is spread across more than 800 individual agreements, each with separate conditions relating to how and when the funds may be spent. There are various reasons why these funds might remain unspent. Some of the balances relate to maintenance agreements covering a 20 year period; a suitable amount is contributed to the Council maintenance budget each year. Other amounts are effectively deposits that cannot be spent until work is completed on the relevant development, in some cases these balances will be refunded if the development does not take place. Further balances have been allocated to specific parish schemes and will be released at the appropriate time.
During the 2012/2013 financial year more than £3 million was spent from the Section 106 monies that Wiltshire council holds.
In respect of any unused amounts that have been returned to developers on implemented planning permissions, the Council has returned £16,135 from 2009 to date in relation to a Section 106 agreement entered into by a predecessor Council.