West Norfolk has lost millions without development levy, councillor claims

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West Norfolk could have lost millions of pounds of extra investment by not introducing a proposed levy on developments sooner, a councillor has claimed.

Last month, borough council leaders unveiled plans to introduce a community infrastructure levy, which they claim could earn the area up to £1.2 million per year.

The system would largely replace the current procedure through which some developers, particularly on large projects, are required to make financial contributions to local services.

But, during a cabinet scrutiny committee meeting on Thursday evening, independent Michael Pitcher said the council had lost out on more than £4.7 million by not introducing the levy when it could have done so in 2010.

He said that just £73,000 had been raised through legal agreements, known as Section 106 contracts over the same period and questioned how the council could argue the borough had not lost out.

Officials have argued the money could be put towards major projects, such as the redevelopment of Lynn’s bus station and Mr Pitcher said: “It makes you think we could have funded it ourselves.”

But council leader Nick Daubney said he doubted that and insisted it had been sensible to wait.

He said: “When CIL was introduced, the housing market was entering the biggest recession I’ve seen in my lifetime. Several neighbouring councils are still nervous about introducing CIL at all. I think you’re being far too simplistic.”