S106 contributions and spend in Hungerford

J A Giggins made this Freedom of Information request to West Berkshire Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear West Berkshire Council,

Please could you supply:

(1) Details of all S106 contributions arising from developments in Hungerford over the last ten years or since the scheme began.

I would like these in the same format as those first supplied to Ashley Mills by Suzanne Kenchington on 14th June 2010 in response to his request regarding the Vodafone HQ, ie including spend and commitments.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/de...

(2) Details of all other projects/works in Hungerford (for the same time period) financed (fully or partly)by s106 contributions from developments in other areas of West Berkshire.

(3) Details of the 'S106 commuted sum pot' referred to by Karen Feldgate in West Bershire Housing Department's consultation response regarding application 10/01928/FULEXT.

http://planning.westberks.gov.uk/rpp/sho...

I am particularly interested in the size of the 'pot', where the monies came from(development & ward), how much has been 'committed'(and/or spent on)the Priory/Platt Court development(10/01928/FULEXT)and how much has been 'committed' to(and/or spent) on the Hungerford Footbridge development (application numbers 10/02487/FUL and 10/02378/LBC)

As both of the planning applications referred to above are current and due to be considered by committee, I would be grateful for a prompt response as required by the FOI Act, and in order to avoid a request to the Planning Committee to defer consideration of the applications until such time as the information is supplied. I understand that the S106 database is now operational so hopefully this will not be a problem.

Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

J A Giggins

Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

FoI/2010/473

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Thank you for your enquiry. I have passed this to the Planning Service
and we will seek to respond within twenty working days.

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

Policy & Communication

* West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury RG14
5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal) 6: 01635 519613

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council
are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be
disclosed to a third party.

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Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

1 Attachment

FoI/2010/473

Dear Mrs Giggins,

We have now collated the information to respond to your request. You have asked for:

(1) Details of all S106 contributions arising from developments in Hungerford over the last ten years or since the scheme began.

With regard to this question - the first page of the attached spreadsheet (analysis) shows details of all S106 contributions arising from developments in Hungerford. The information shown is taken from the developer contributions database, and is presented in an Excel format, as per the request.

(2) Details of all other projects/works in Hungerford (for the same time period) financed (fully or partly) by s106 contributions from developments in other areas of West Berkshire.

With regard to the second question, we have carried out a detailed analysis of the funding of capital schemes for the last 10 years, and can find no instances where projects in Hungerford have been funded by developer contributions from other areas of West Berkshire.

(3) Details of the 'S106 commuted sum pot' referred to by Karen Feldgate in West Bershire Housing Department's consultation response regarding application 10/01928/FULEXT.
I am particularly interested in the size of the 'pot', where the monies came from(development & ward), how much has been
'committed'(and/or spent on)the Priory/Platt Court development(10/01928/FULEXT)and how much has been 'committed'
to(and/or spent) on the Hungerford Footbridge development (application numbers 10/02487/FUL and 10/02378/LBC)

With regard to the third question, the following information is provided:

A full breakdown of developer contributions for Affordable Housing in West Berkshire, as required as a result of development across West Berkshire. This is presented as the second page of the attached spreadsheet (Affordable Housing - Q3).

I can confirm that the proposed development at The Priory is likely to be partially funded by developer contributions, however the actual sum has not yet been finalised. The decision to allocate S106 funding has not been taken through formal decision-making processes and will be dependent upon the success of other grant bids and viability assessments. Until the decision making process, and the necessary grant funding bids have been completed, it is not possible to confirm the amount of funding - essentially this is information not held for the purposes of the Act.

The third page of the Excel spreadsheet (Highways - Q3) shows a breakdown of highways developer contributions which will be used towards the Hungerford Footbridge.

Please note that this request has involved at least 12 hours officer time, researching, collating and presenting this information, at a cost of £300 to the council. In addition officers have spent time in the Housing & Performance, and Highways & Transport Service Units on your request. The work required for future requests on this subject may therefore be aggregated with the work undertaken to respond to this question in assessing whether the request would exceed the appropriate limit.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you may ask for an internal review. You should contact David Lowe, Scrutiny & Partnerships Manager, Policy & Communication, Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury RG14 5LD, email [email address] if you wish to request a review. If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

Policy & Communication

* West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal) 6: 01635 519613

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be disclosed to a third party.

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Dear Sue Broughton,

Many thanks for this information, and for confirmation that West Berkshire Council is intending to use s106 Housing Contributions from other developments in West Berkshire (primarily Newbury and Tilehurst) to partially fund this affordable housing development in Hungerford. This would seem to me to be contrary to my understanding of both national and local policy regarding s106 obligations which I thought were supposed to 'mitigate' the effect of a development on the surrounding area, not finance a development in a completely different area. I also thought West Berkshire had a policy of 'pepper potting' affordable housing throughout developments, and would only accept financial contributions in lieu of affordable housing provision in 'exceptional' circumstances. It would be interesting to know what those 'exceptional' circumstances were and I may put in a further separate request to find out. In the meantime I have asked David Holling, as Chief Monitoring Officer, to investigate.

I note your comment regarding the time taken to extract the information requested, and I thank you for your time and trouble. I would however point out that the s106 database could (and in the interests of transparency and accountability, should) be published on your web site in Excel format for members of the public to query directly. It would not have taken me 12 hours to extract the information, assuming it is in the database. If the data isn't in the database, I would have to question why not. Perhaps, as FOI officer you could put this suggestion forward as an efficiency saving?

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins