Building cash demand

Developments bring section 106 money to communities
Developments bring section 106 money to communities

Labour Party councillors in Burgess Hill are unhappy about the amount of say that the town council has in how money from housing developments is spent.

But the council says there is little that can be done under current local government regulations, which give only Mid Sussex Council powers to allocate the money.

Burgess Hill Town Council debated and voted against a proposal from Labour Councillors Dave Andrews and Janet Smith that the council should have a much more “hands on” role in allocating the funding derived from local housing developments.

Labour says that according to the latest figures provided by West Sussex County Council and Mid Sussex District Council, there is £1.4 million income from developments in Burgess Hill, called Section 106 funds, available to be spent in the town, half of which is not yet committed to specific projects.

The Labour proposal had four points. They were greater Town Council involvement in the section 106 agreements that are made with developers; drawing up a comprehensive list of possible improvements to the town which would be suitable for Section 106 funding; Prioritising the areas for spending within the guidelines

and overseeing the progress of projects for which funds have been committed.

Cllr David Andrews said: “Once again it is disappointing that the District and County Councils will have control over the spending of what is effectively Burgess Hill money.

“Burgess Hill is a town of 30,000 people, and growing, and it is ludicrous that we will get what we are given by councillors on District and county councils who have absolutely no affinity with our town and who are not answerable to the people of Burgess Hill at the ballot box. We should be in control our own affairs.”

The town council said in a statement: “The Town Council is fully aware that under current Government legislation and regulation, the full responsibility and authority to negotiate and subsequently invest Section 106 funds is with the Local Planning Authority, that is Mid Sussex District Council. Until such time as these regulations change the Town Council can only support and encourage the work of Mid Sussex District Council.”