WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 28th June 2023

A s106 explanation

At the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group meeting last week we had three speakers to help us understand developer contributions.

The first, Dan Sames (Lecturer in Planning at Oxford Brookes University) explained more about Section 106 agreements (S106) and Community Infrastructure Levies.

Our other speakers were from the District Council Finance Team and were Simon Hewings (Head of Finance) and Mark Hewer (Infrastructure and Development Team Leader).

They explained that the money from the developments is paid at trigger points in the development – such as when building starts, when 100 homes are occupied, etc.

The S106 agreement will state how much will be paid for each specific project, what the trigger is and when the money should be spent by.

For example: £15,000 for indoor sports facilities in the vicinity of Wantage to be paid prior to occupation of the development with the money to be index linked from the date of the agreement to payment and to be spent within 10 years of receipt.

This is one of the contributions in an agreement signed in 2012, with just over £16,000 paid to the Council in 2014.

This was one of nearly 100 individual contributions which were earmarked by the District Council to help fund a new Leisure Centre in Wantage.

In 2020, a decision was taken to cancel plans for the new Leisure Centre so this money should now be used for indoor sports facilities in Wantage.

Our speakers explained that there is a new Leisure Strategy being developed as part of the new Local Plan and that this will identify how the sums that were earmarked should be spent.

The Council has the responsibility to ensure that the money is spent in line with the agreement.

Several questions at the meeting related to how the money is held by the Council and what happens to any interest earned on the funds.

The Vale is currently holding about £20 million of S106 funds but it doesn’t have to be held in separate accounts and any interest is income for the District Council – values are not index linked after they have been received by the Council.

Others asked what happens if the funds are not spent within the time period in the agreement and were told that in some cases this can result in the Council needing to return the funds but in practice there’s a certain amount of haggling and re-negotiation.

Copyright © 2013-2023 Wantage and Grove Campaign Group