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Community Infrastructure Levy

Stoke St Gregory (Unofficial Site)

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THE STORY SO FAR

The full debate recorded in the Parish Council Minutes can be found HERE

The First Mention of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding at a Parish Council (PC) meeting was on 14th October 2019, under Agenda Item: 8 Proposed funding for the new pavilion. "PC will allocate a portion of the anticipated CIL money to the new pavilion project, up to a maximum of £70,000." All PC members agreed, but this decision was reversed at the January 2020 meeting, when more information became available.

What Can be Funded?  At public question time, 9th December 2019 the meeting was told that: The PC portion of CIL money cannot be allocated to the school as it is centrally funded, although later communication with council officers threw this statement into question.

The Start of a Policy  At the 10th February 2020 meeting, although it is now agreed that the PC portion of the CIL money could potentially be invested into the school - if the PC wishes to offer the grant, JH states that the PC should not be responsible for funding the shortfall for the building work, as this should be funded centrally by SCC pots. Although not formally agreed, this appears to remain as policy.

Raising Awareness In January 2021 a communication was sent to community organisations within the village inviting them to join discussions on the allocation of the PC’s portion of CIL money. An application form was produced after the February PC meeting. No timescales were suggested at this point.

Policy & Procedure At the meeting of 12th April 2021, various issues relating to procedure were discussed:

  • Whether the whole amount should be distributed, or whether some should be held back

  • Whether CIL money should provide infrastructure required as a result of the new housing development, or should it be used to benefit the whole village?

  • How to make sure the community do not feel ignored or over-ruled.

  • The need to agree a timeline and a strategy for applications and funding as soon as possible.

  • Whether it would be beneficial to consider multiple projects of benefit to the village rather than a single project

  • JP adds there is a requirement to develop a timeline and a strategy.

  • The possibility of setting up a subgroup (within parish council regulations) to discuss the subject enquires if a sub-group of the PC would be permitted to meet to discuss forming a strategy.

  • A deadline for applications was suggested for September 2021, with a decision anticipated by October 2021 and funds allocated shortly thereafter.

Community to Decide - At the 26th July 2021 meeting it was announced that "the current plan is for the community to decide the allocation of the CIL money to projects, rather than the PC." A questionnaire had been compiled for circulation to every member of the community, but no structure or framework would applied until after the results were available. Although there was a low response rate, it was agreed that the results were useful, and, at the November 2021 meeting, the councillors agreed that they should take precedence over existing applications and expressions of interest. It was decided at the February 2022 meeting that the PC would take no further CIL decisions until the new council was formed in May.

The Questionnaire

The information in Figures 1 & 2 is taken directly from the figures supplied by the parish council. The questionnaire was delivered to every home in the parish, which, in 2016, numbered 398. Just under 100 (about 25%) were returned. Participants were asked to tick 4 boxes that related to their wishes as to how CIL money should be spent. Guidance was given with the form that “It should be noted that any CIL money received must be spent in accordance with CIL regulation 59C which reads: 59C. A local (parish) council must use the CIL receipts passed to it to support the development of the local council’s area, or any part of that area, by funding - 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 the area”. No other restrictions were placed on the choices.  319 ticks were placed in the boxes, averaging just over 3 per household. Written comments were also sought, both in answer to individual sections and in a general section at the end.

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Notes to Figure 1: The boxes with most ticks were 'Footpaths & Bridleways - Maintenance & Improvement' (37); 'Highways - Minor Improvements' (30); 'Broadband - Improvements to Broadband (28); Sport & Fitness - Provision of Additional Facilities for Young People (26). However, without looking at individual returns we do not know, for example, whether the ticks in the 'Environment' boxes were made by 40 different people or 19 people, some of whom also ticked all three 'Environment' Boxes.

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Notes to Figure 2: Again, we need to be aware that, for example, individuals could tick up to three boxes relating to footpaths, but only one relating to broadband.

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Notes to Figure 3: This displays one of several ways of grouping the questions into categories. If the Parish Council agree on a different classification of interest areas, then a table could be produced to match. Some overlaps will always exist. One example is the relationship of 'Open Spaces' with 'Environment'.

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Notes to Figure 4: These are the categories and numbers that were presented to the PC and the village after certain replies had been removed from the results. At the time it was stated that items relating to other budgets would not be included. Also, negative comments had been removed. There does not seem to be a reference in the minutes as to whether this was approved by council members.