Hertfordshire County Council criticised for failing to spend £56million community cash

13:25 15 January 2014

The county council has failed to spend £56m in community money

The county council has failed to spend £56m in community money

Archant

Hertfordshire County Council has been criticised for failing to spend £56 million in community money – the highest amount among English authorities.

The council has obtained the funds through Section 106 agreements with developers, whereby an amount of money is given to offset the impact planning projects have on the community.

The money is then assigned for a certain use, and can help fund a range of council-backed services such as schools, libraries, transport and roads.

The Conservative-controlled county council was found to have the most unspent S106 money of the 316 local authorities in England which responded to a BBC Freedom of Information request. The remaining 37 authorities did not respond.

It has also been revealed that £691,000 in S106 money had to be returned to developers by the county council in a five-year period up to April, 2013, as it had not been spent in time. For the past financial year, £45,000 was returned.

Royston Labour party spokesman Les Baker, who was the party’s Royston candidate at the county council elections last year, said: “This is supposed to be community money.

“To have to returned £691,000 to developers is an absolute scandal and at the same time Herts County Council is still sitting on £56 million which could be used to provide improvements.

“This is certainly a case where questions need to be raised at County Hall and I have asked our Labour county councillor to look into the matter in the hope that money from planning agreements will be properly used and not have to be returned to developers.

“Giving the money back to developers after all the rigmarole of coming to planning agreements just does not make sense.”

Derrick Ashley, cabinet member for resources and transformation at the county council, said: “Getting the most from our resources is of vital importance to us and I appreciate some people might think we should spend this money elsewhere. However, there are strict legal limitations on how Section 106 money can be spent. Money provided through S106 agreements can only be used for the purposes set out in the agreement and not for other purposes.

“It is often the case that the funding cannot be spent until a development has reached a certain stage, which is why many of the agreements have lengthy expiry dates and why we hold sums of Section 106 money.”

0 comments

More news stories

Yesterday, 16:49
The road was closed while the spooked horse was moved to another vehicle.

Part of the A505 between Baldock and Royston was closed earlier this afternoon after a spooked horse caused damage to the box it was travelling in.

Yesterday, 13:08
The Make Lunch team serving up grub last year.

For those eligible for free school meals or who are struggling on a tight budget, the Royston Make Lunch Club will provide children with a healthy meal and bags of fun during the school holidays.

Yesterday, 10:04
Firefighter Jordon Gilks and crew commander Derek Hutton, with Poppy and her parents Rob Cundy and Zoe Cundy.

After a team of firefighters from Royston and others from North Herts raised thousands by climbing the height of Everest on a ladder to help a young girl with dyskinetic cerebral palsy walk, a cheque has been presented to her family.

Yesterday, 13:39
Emma Chapman is the new youth mayor in Stevenage, John Lloyd takes over as mayor and John Booth is the new chair of neighbouring North Herts.

She may be only 11 years old, but Emma Chapman has already taken the first step in her political career.

”North

Most read stories

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Royston Crow e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up