20 February 2017
Central government gives district councils a New Homes Bonus* as an incentive to grant housing planning permissions, payable when the homes are built. Since the start of the scheme in 2011 Mid Suffolk District Council has received just over £9 million. It has spent very little of this and, when combined with recent budget underspends, means the Council has a cash reserve that is expected to rise to £10.47 million by the end of 2017/18.
The Green Group of councillors at Mid Suffolk are urging the Council to create a New Homes Bonus fund, initially £400,000, to which communities that have had housing growth can apply. Housing growth is happening now and communities must be given the funds to improve their infrastructure to deal with this.
Leader of the Green Group, Councillor Andrew Stringer said
“each year we put forward proposals on how to improve quality of life for our residents and this is one such proposal. Our communities need our support as they get more and more housing growth.”
Many communities are seeing new housing developments and often need improved infrastructure (foot/cycle paths, roads, schools, health provision) alongside this – yet little or no funding is forthcoming.
Villages are being asked to improve their communities themselves yet are not given the budgets to deal with this.
Across England, different councils have different approaches. In South Lakeland in Cumbria 40% of the New Homes Bonus is used in communities where development occurs and the rest of the fund is used by the council to build their own housing. In Wychavon in Worcestershire, 40% of the fund from years 4 and 5 of funding is provided to local communities. South Northamptonshire allocates 30% for parishes and towns that have seen growth and 10% for parish and voluntary group projects.
District Councillor Rachel Eburne said
“it is vital that these funds are used. This is not our money – it belongs to the residents of Mid Suffolk and we should be looking at best practice across the country on how this money can be spent in our communities for best effect.”
Dates of next meeting(s)
Wednesday 31st May at Cafe 52
- Mid Suffolk meetings generally held at Cafe 52, Crowe Street, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 1DL
- Meetings occasionally held in Woolpit, Eye, Stowupland and Needham Market.
All Members and well-wishers welcome.
- June 8th Election Day - Don't forget to vote Green