HOW WOULD YOU SPEND £38,000 IN OUR COMMUNITY?
Good news! This year, for the first time, Solihull Council has released money - £38,000 in KDBH - for local communities to spend on developing their neighbourhood in ways that are most important to them. This first year of operation is, the Council admits, something of a learning process. However, it sets the foundations of what will become an annual process.
The money comes from something called the 'Community Infrastructure Levy'. Like many areas of planning, how it operates is a bit complicated! There's a short explanation below and links to more details should you want it. However, what's far more interesting, and important, is to read the proposals that local groups have submitted to bid for money from the KDBH fund. Our Forum meeting on 21 October 2019 (see Home page) is dedicated to presentation and discussion of the bids - everyone is most welcome.
What is Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
Local Authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) on new development to fund infrastructure supporting development. Solihull Council introduced CIL in July 2016, and over £2.4m has been collected. CIL become chargeable when planning permission is granted, but only starts to become payable when development commences.
CIL funding is split into two pots: Strategic CIL goes to the Local Authority and must be spent on infrastructure projects anywhere across the Borough. More specific to us in KDBH, though, is Neighbourhood CIL (NCIL). And the good news is that, because we now have an approved Neighbourhood Plan, the amount of NCIL we get increases from 15% to 25% of all the CIL money raised from new development in KDBH.
As we don't have a Parish Council in KDBH, the Council holds our pot of NCIL money. However, the Council must by law consult with the local community, and through the Neighbourhood Forum, on how our NCIL funds should be prioritised and spent. What's more, bids that contribute to priorities identified by the community in its Neighbourhood Plan (eg. the Plan's objectives, policies, community actions) will score favourably and are more likely to receive funding.
So What Sorts of Things Can Neighbourhood CIL be Spent On?
NCIL can be used for a wider range of projects than Strategic CIL, provided always that a project meets the requirement to ‘support the development of the area’. Examples of projects undertaken elsewhere include:
new, improved or safer roads and other transport facilities, inc. public transport, facilities to support walking and cycling
community library refurbishment
open spaces, tree planting and green infrastructure improvements
renovation of community facilities
improvement of playground equipment
sporting, recreation and leisure facilities
digital networks (eg. broadband).
All bids are assessed on certain qualifying criteria, such as: What level of community support is there? Is there a well defined project plan? what are the benefits, and to how many in the community? These are set out in the Council's funding request form, with supporting documents, that are available Here.
Below are this year's KDBH bids. As a Forum we believe that publicising NCIL as widely as possible is essential to ensure transparency and fairness in the submission of bids and allocation of resources. We want to ensure that as many people as possible in our community know what is being proposed and have an opportunity to influence the community view that goes back to the Council. Do come along to our meeting on 21 October to hear short presentations on the bids and to provide your feedback - particularly as the bids exceed the funding available!