Developers charged after failing to pay Wakefield Council community cash on time

Wakefield Council have had to chase and financially penalise housing developers who have failed to pay them cash on time.

By David Spereall
Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 4:29 pm
Housebuilders have to pay councils cash whenever they begin development.
Housebuilders have to pay councils cash whenever they begin development.

Building companies are legally required to pay local authorities a community infrastructure levy (CIL) when they start developing houses, if the council imposes it, and the money is then reinvested to help areas cope with an influx of extra people.

But it's been revealed that Wakefield Council has had to impose extra charges in some cases where firms have not handed over the money promptly.

The companies involved have not been named.

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The council took 2.5m from the community infrastructure levy between April 2018 and March 2019.

The information was revealed at a County Hall meeting on Wednesday morning, where town and parish council clerks took part in a Q&A session with a Wakefield Council officer about the CIL.

The authority's team leader for spatial policy, Morgan Stringer, said: "There are mechanisms in place where we can levy things like surcharges and ultimately we can take them to court for the money if they don't pay it.

"There are cases where we've applied surcharges. I don't work in the part of the council that collects the money so I couldn't tell you the detail on where that's occurred.

"But where the money's been owed to us and it hasn't been paid we have pursued it and there have been cases where we've applied surcharges."

It's also emerged that the council took in £2.5m through the levy in the last financial year.

£300,000 of this has been set aside for the Castleford riverside development, which will see around 1,400 homes, restaurants, cafes and a care home built on the town's old chemical works site.

That scheme received planning permission last year and is scheduled to be completed by 2027.

Ms Stringer said that five per cent of the £2.5m would be paid in commission to a company that administers the cash, while 25 per cent will go to local areas for communities to decide how it is spent.

The remaining 70 per cent, from which the Castleford cash has been taken, goes into a "strategic pot" for major infrastructure projects across the district and is allocated by the council's leadership.

Local Democracy Reporting Service