POS is concerned at the level of generous cash incentives for neighbourhoods arising from CIL receipts, as recently announced by the Planning Minister, beliveing they could be misplaced.
POS recognises and supports the need for local planning authorities to engage positively with neighbourhoods and local councils with regard to growth and associated infrastructure needs.
Malcolm Sharp, Society President, was quick to comment on the Minister's announcement "the Community Infrastructure levy was designed to assist local planning authorities and infrastructure providers to plan and meet needs arising from growth, indeed to unlock growth. However, in general terms infrastructure needs far exceed the resources available and it is necessary to prioritise how CIL can be used most effectively. Much of the demand is for essential infrastructure such as schools, health facilities, transport which are expensive items often serving more than one locality."
Sharp continued "Whilst it has to be right that local communities have to be involved in this process allocating such a large proportion of CIL to local neighbourhoods wiil, in our view, complicate and prejudice the proper provision of essential infrastructure which may itself threaten rather than enable growth. Furthermore, in the context of reducing resources in local planning authorities, as demonstrated in the recent Planning magazine survey, it will also further add to pressures on planning officers and their staff and their ability to facilitate speedy and quality decisions."
Graham Jones, the Convenor for the Society's CIL & Infrastructure Planning Topic Forum, commented "I hope there will be a clear requirement on neighbourhhods to spend on infrastructure and in consultation with the LPA. The real worry is that funds will either be tied up in procedural/ consultative processes or will be spent on inconsequential low priotity stuff." Jones added, "I also see big problems in non-parished areas about consultation/neighbourhood boundaries/project definition and accountability."
John Silvester, Society Spokesperson, said "POS is willing to work now with DCLG on the necessary regulations to put this into effect as there is an intended spring implementation."