As from December 2020, Castle Point Borough Council will be required to make public where and how the monies raised from granting New Development has been allocated and spent.
This new disclosure of so called Developer Community Infrastructure Levies (CIL), applied to raise funds and improve neighbouring areas, and supposedly in Canvey Island’s case make provision for future Sea Defence Improvements, is supposed to make more transparent where funds are actually spent.
With Developers and Local Authorities targeting Green Belt and Greenfield sites for Development over Brownfield profits are at a Premium for Developers. There is no reason, except pitifully poor negotiations by local authorities for these Developer Community Infrastructure Levys, to make a real difference and improvement to areas.
Across the housebuilding industry operating margins are twice what they are in America
Last month (February 2019) Persimmon, Britain’s largest housebuilding firm, posted profits of £1.1bn for 2018, its highest ever.
Recently Barratt Developments revealed a cunning plan which involved lowering the pitch of its roofs, which should reduce the number of tiles required.
A calculation by Neal Hudson of Resi Analysts, a consultancy, suggests that residential land prices are currently about 30 per cent below what one would expect given their historical relationship with house prices. With land prices held down, many builders have seen rising margins on each house that they sell. ( The Economist )
Now, the UK Government issue an instruction from Housing Minister Esther McVey on Developer Community Infrastructure Levies, proposing that it “will allow residents to know how developers are contributing to the local community when they build new homes”, and “The rules are designed to support councils and give greater confidence to communities about the benefits that new housing can bring to their area.”
Looking deep into the legal jargon we find that part of a most lucrative development By Redrow Homes at Kiln Road, Thundersley have produced some surprising CIL funding;
Construction of 71 No. dwellings and associated access roads | Land North of 201-219 Kiln Road Thundersley Benfleet Essex SS7 1RS
S 106 Agreement requirement reveal that the Developer, Redrow Homes Ltd, amongst other issues agrees to provide: Affordable Housing; 14 Dwellings of which 3 are 1 Bedroom Houses, 3 x 1 Bedroom Flats, 9 x 2 Bedroom Flats and 2 x 3Bedroom Dwellings.
These 14 of the 71 dwellings to be supplied as a Mix 50% for Affordable Rented Housing and 50% Shared Ownership.
Education Contribution: Essex County Council to receive £66,701 towards Early Years and Childcare Contribution, in Cedar Ward.
Highways Contribution: £75,000 towards improvements at Victoria House roundabout and Woodmans Arms mini roundabout.
The usual so called Residential Travel Information Pack, a booklet containing info on bus, train travel, cycling, walking, taxi travel, car sharing, community transport and possibly an interactive CD Rom that takes each resident into livetravel sites! Scratch Cards and Vouchers that are expected to “secure a modal shift from private car” onto more sustainable methods of Transport!
Health Care: £23,000 to mitigate the capital cost to NHS England for the provision of additional healthcare services!
Surface Water Flood Contribution: £14,975 to the “Council.” CPBC!
Valerie Wells Wood, Benfleet: Pay £265,160 to Essex Wildlife Trust!
Regarding the Affordable Housing Contribution; The CPBC 2016 daft Local Plan stated “In Castle Point there is a need for at least 73% of new homes to be affordable, assuming delivery at 200 homes per annum.” and to achieve this figure “it is recommended 25% affordable housing provision is sought in Benfleet, Hadleigh and Thundersley, and 15% affordable housing provision sought on Canvey Island.”
Note that the above example at Kiln Road CPBC agreed a figure of just 20% of Affordable Housing. An early Capitulation by our local authority!
Whether revealing the Sums collected from Developers and where and how they are distributed, no doubt hidden away in the CPBC Budget Reports, will be of benefit to Castle Point and Canvey Island Residents, we will hold judgement.
It has long been suspected that Developers do not fulfil their full contribution obligations, now CPBC may have to make public their failure to hold them to Account!
In the meantime more can be Read HERE.