Babergh planners respond to criticism over ‘missing’ £170,000 CIL funding

The development site is off Benton Street in Hadleigh. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The development site is off Benton Street in Hadleigh. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

An organisation promoting the preservation and development of a Suffolk market town has claimed planners have missed out on a potential six-figure sum of developer contributions.

The Hadleigh Society has criticised Babergh District Council’s (BDC) handling of an application relating to 15 homes to be built on the former builder’s yard in Benton Street.

The application was approved around 10 years ago but planners recently agreed to renew the former consent, together with a number of revisions to the original design.

In a report on its website, the Hadleigh Society claimed that by renewing the application without requiring a fresh application, BDC had allowed the development to “avoid a potential Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) of about £170,000” – some of which would have gone to the town council.

“Thus, had matters been different some funds for infrastructure works for Benton Street might have been available for funding improvements,” the report adds.

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A Hadleigh Society spokesman told this newspaper that the £170,000 figure was “an estimate of a possible charge” that could have been placed on the application, had BDC not renewed the old permission.

“The Society obviously disagreed with that decision,” the spokesman added.

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However BDC has explained its decision, saying the existing Section 106 Agreement on the application - a form of developers’ contributions which pre-dates the introduction of CIL – still applied to the development.

A council spokesman said the developer would only to pay CIL on additional floor space created as a result of the amendments to the initial designs. “As the amendment to the proposal reduced the floor area overall there would not be any CIL payable even if we had insisted on either a new application or S73 amendment, and furthermore a non-material amendment is an available option to consider amendments to planning applications,” the spokesman said.

The Hadleigh Society added, separately, that it could be useful for Hadleigh to adopt a Neighbourhood Plan, to get a greater share of developer contributions. Town and parish council with a Neighbourhood Plan get 25% of CIL raised locally, compared with 15% for those that do not have a plan.

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