Uckfield Town Council could be set to receive hundreds of thousands of pounds as a result of the development of 1,000 homes to the south and west of the town.
The money will come from a new “roof tax”, known as the Community Infrastructure Levy, to be paid by developers.
In the past, developers have had to make “Section 106 agreements” with the planning authority to contribute sums of money to infrastructure projects.
Town centre improvements
The planned town centre improvements in Uckfield are a good example of how this money is spent. Section 106 agreements are being largely phased out to be replaced by the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
Money raised by this levy will be pooled by Wealden District Council and can be spent anywhere in the district on infrastructure projects; although it is thought the money will be targeted at towns where there is considerable development planned, such as Uckfield, Hailsham and the Polegate/Willingdon area.
Section 106 monies are specific to the area where the development takes place.
Another major difference between CIL and Section 106 agreements is that a top slice of CIL money will go to the town or parish council where the development is taking place.
A town or parish council will automatically get 15 per cent of the CIL money and will get 25 per cent of that money if a Neighbourhood Plan is in place at the time planning permission is granted.
‘Around £1 million for town council’
Until the detailed planning application for the site comes in – specifying the exact number of houses and the sizes, it is impossible to be precise about the exact amount of CIL monies which will be available.
In the case of Uckfield Town Council, it could receive around £1 million at the 15 per cent rate and £1.6 million at the 25 per cent rate.
Town and parish councils have considerable freedom on how this money can be spent but will have to report each year on receipts and expenditure.
The CIL money, according to the government, can be spent on:
(a) the provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure; or
(b) anything else that is concerned with addressing the demands that development places on an area.’
The town council has established a working group of councillors to consider whether Uckfield should have a neighbourhood plan and, if so, what might be in it.
Maresfield is further along with a neighbourhood plan project.