2023: The potential of Neighbourhood Planning to support neighbourhoods
With the financial crisis likely to be a huge factor in 2023, many local authorities are looking at spending cuts and reviewing assets, including restricting spending on new infrastructure. This is likely to further heighten tensions between communities, councillors and developers with regard to new development and infrastructure.
There is already a huge pressure to deliver more infrastructure (specifically schools and doctors surgeries) and unfortunately not all communities fully understand the way in which funds are derived from developments, and the potential spend this money within their local community. For example, if a community has a Neighbourhood Plan in place, the local authority must pass on 25% of the relevant CIL receipts for that area. The neighbourhood portion of the levy can also be spent on a wider range services than that which the remainder of the levy is restricted to, which could help to bridge some of the spending gaps. It is a shame that most parish / town councils seem unaware of this.
Another area of misunderstanding within many local communities regarding CIL is the lack of awareness that if a parish or town council doesn’t spend their share of CIL receipts within five years, the council can recall this money. Because of this it is very important for communities to use CIL receipts before the five years expire. This is even more important as we head into 2023: if parish councils have a better appreciation and knowledge of how CIL receipts work, they may be able to deliver some of the local infrastructure which local authorities are pulling back on due to limits on spending.
Another important consideration in this respect is the potential abolition of housing targets. As we are well aware, there still a huge pressure on existing services and infrastructure, but without the requirement to accept new development, parish and town councils are likely to see less local development, which will substantially reduce the significant financial contributions through CIL and S106 Agreements which ae available to fund infrastructure improvements.