The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is raised through charging a levy on planning developments in Brent,and has been levied since 2013.Currently, Brent has around £60 million of unspent monies from CIL......and rising......just stuck in the bank!
The neighbourhood priorities, agreed by consultation with residents, are around four key areas
- community space and cultural facilities
- parks and open space
- town centres/ high streets
- transport and roads.
For the purpose of allocating funds from this levy, Brent is divided into 5 areas - monies are allocated across these areas based on how much has been received from developments in their area. Unsurprisingly, Wembley, with all the tower blocks going up on a daily basis has the largest allocation of CIL.
However, Brent Tories have a big problem with the slowness of spending this cash. Applications are currently invited from groups able to deliver projects in line with the set criteria - with a deadline of 1 December 2017. Even this bidding round will spend less than £1m!
In my own patch, Friends of Tiverton Green Open Space has previously bid successfully for cash from planning levies.This year I was very pleased that Friends of Kensal Rise Library were also successful.
The failure to spend CIL monies follows an alarming trend in Brent......continually increasing charges to our residents, but just leaving the monies in Council bank accounts.
Brent Labour raise taxes but don't spend them on services!
- raising Council tax by 8% since 2014, with another 4% increase to come in a few months time (then telling us that this cash is for contingencies that will be kept in the bank to take care of any "rainy days " ahead.)
- underspending on the capital budget in 2016/17 by more than £100m.
- raising parking charges to record levels,despite making a profit of £12m. in 2016/17 .
Brent Tories do hope that community groups will continue to bid for this CIL money, as spending in the right places - on the right projects - can do so much to enhance the infrastructure in Brent.