Vale council makes changes to infrastructure spending

Vale of the White Horse District Council has made changes to its strategy for infrastructure funding in a move to release further funds for larger community projects across the district.

The changes to the way the council spends Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds will mean that money secured from housing developments in the district will be released for projects that make a significant difference to communities and help fulfil the strategies outlined in the council’s corporate plan.

The council reviewed the process to allocate CIL funds to maximise benefits to local communities. The changes agreed by the cabinet means that funds could also potentially be used across the district boundaries in the Didcot Garden Town area to pay for new infrastructure.

CIL money was previously intended to be spent, as much as possible, in the area where the development took place. The new strategy allows greater flexibility when allocating funding to projects which in turn makes them more deliverable. This is particularly important where there is an identified need for larger infrastructure facilities that also benefit a wider area and a large proportion of the population.

The new criteria will also enable CIL and Section 106 legal agreements to be used in combination to support projects. CIL monies can now also be combined to help introduce larger projects or to replace or enhance existing facilities in areas with large housing developments. The council will be reviewing how Section 106 and CIL funds can be used to support local leisure facilities in villages and towns in the district.     

Cllr Judy Roberts, Vale Cabinet Member for Development and Infrastructure said: “It’s a priority of ours to make sure communities have the facilities they need. The changes to our spending strategy will help unlock bigger and better infrastructure projects and improve the support we can provide for our residents.”

Cllr Helen Pighills, Vale Cabinet Member for Healthy Communities said: “We’re looking forward to being able to use developer contributions to provide more opportunities for all residents to access community facilities that encourage a healthier lifestyle.”

Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire and District Councils have jointly secured £53,030,143 for local infrastructure since April 2016 from new housing development in the districts.