The government are to simplify payment rules regarding infrastructure so that councils can deliver on new housing projects easier, it has been announced.
Currently, roads, schools, GP surgeries and parkland are all paid for by developers so that areas are able to cope when there is an influx of new residents moving to a new large settlement.
But Housing Minister Kit Malthouse has said that the rules need to become simplified, as there is often a lot of unnecessary confusion over which organisation is legally required to pay for new infrastructure. Once the rules have been changed, it is hoped that there will be less confusion and communities will be clear on who has financed what.
Additionally, deals completed between developers and councils will need to be made public, making the process more transparent, while residents will be able to see each step taken up until the development is complete.
The move forms part of a wider drive to get shovels in the ground quicker, in a bid to ensure that the government target to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s is met.
‘Communities deserve to know whether their council is fighting their corner with developers and getting more cash to local services so they can cope with the new homes built,’ he said.
‘The reforms not only ensure developers and councils don’t shirk their responsibilities, allowing residents to hold them to account but also free up councillors to fund bigger and more complicated projects over the line. The certainty and less needless complexity will lead to quicker decisions,’ he added.
It has been pointed out that economic growth and jobs were created as a result of the £6 billion in contributions from developers in 2016/2017, but previously, councils were not required to publish any information about how much had been received or how it had been spent.
Malthouse believes that this will see infrastructure projects come to fruition sooner as councils will be able to impose the Community Infrastructure Levy at an earlier stage, whilst also adding a noticeable layer of transparency for local residents.
What’s more, larger infrastructure projects will be funded by the windfall of multiple developments within an area, and councils will be given greater greater to invest in and deliver them.