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Levy funds spending plans for West Norfolk set to go before councillors

A scheme to allocate funds towards infrastructure demands in West Norfolk will go before councillors this week.

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was approved by West Norfolk Council in December 2016 with charges being introduced from mid-February 2017.

CIL is paid to the council by developers after their planning permissions are implemented.

King's Court, West Norfolk Council offices
King's Court, West Norfolk Council offices

And now, West Norfolk Council's Cabinet will this week consider how the funds raised should be spent within the borough.

The CIL fund has been proposed to be separated into three specific categories, with 60 per cent going towards Strategic Infrastructure Projects, 20 per cent to Community Projects and 20 per cent to Local Projects.

The Strategic Projects category relates to college-based education and employment schemes for over 18s, transport linked to the council's Transport Plan, as well as for environment and climate change policies.

Community Project allocations will range between £10,000 and £50,000, and must be made in liaison with parish and town councils in relation to education, health and economic development.

Under the proposals, the Local Projects would require funds of up to £10,000, which should be completed within five years and must, again, be made in liaison with parish and town councils. Such projects include community facilities, green infrastructure, community transport, as well as open space and leisure.

West Norfolk Council papers conclude: "It seeks to blend spending on potential strategic level projects, but also directs funding to local communities affected by growth pressures."

Papers also state it is a statutory requirement that CIL should be spent on infrastructure including: roads and other transport, schools and other education, community facilities, health, sport, recreation and open spaces.

The proposals come after West Norfolk county councillor Alex Kemp pointed out the Norfolk Green Infrastructure Plan says West Norfolk is deficient in 26.61 hectares of play area space, and that creating new play areas should be a priority in areas of deprivation where there is high demand.

Ms Kemp said: "The Cabinet is undemocratic, overriding decisions from the area committee (King's Lynn Area Consultative Committee). Villages have parish councils to decide what local facilities to fund, but Lynn has a top-heavy system with decisions imposed by the Cabinet. This has to change."

West Norfolk Council retain five per cent of the CIL funds to cover administrative costs including consultation and legal costs.

The CIL is an important tool for local authorities to use to help them deliver the infrastructure needed to support development in their area.

The levy only applies in areas where a local authority has consulted on, and approved, a charging schedule which sets out its levy rates and has published the schedule on its website.

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