One man’s transparency is another’s humiliation; and once again Folkestone & Hythe District Council humiliate themselves for NOT being transparent.
According to the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government (MHCLG); the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) regulations and National Planning Policy Framework require all local planning authorities to publish their developer contributions data on a regular basis and in an agreed format. This includes County councils, such as Kent County Council.
In 2016/17 the Council published the CIL-Monitoring-Report-2016/17. However, since then the Council has failed to publish the 2017/18, 18/19 and 19/20 data, as they must by law. And the amount of s106 money and CIL money together is in excess of a million, if not more.
The Council have had three years to publish the developer contribution monitoring report, but as usual they’ve not managed to do this under the current Chief Exec, Dr Susan Priest’s leadership. Nor has the Leader of the Council Cllr David Monk ensured the Council abide by the law and publish the data. This lack of transparency does NOT shock us. Nor does the fact that CIL money has been diverted away from Town/Parish Councils to District Council projects.
Local planning authorities such as ours who have received developer contributions must publish, at least annually, an infrastructure funding statement summarising their developer contributions data.
Developer contributions include section 106 planning obligations, CIL, section 278 agreements and any agreements that either secure funding towards new development, or provide infrastructure as part of any new development.
The data on these has a wide range of current and potential uses, including:
planning land and housing development
creating new digital services
giving community members/residents insight into local development and how they can influence it
But it appears it’s not just the Council who appear to be holding back data. All Parish councils which includes Town Councils as well, so Lydd, New Romney, Hythe & Folkestone Town Council, must prepare a report for any financial year in which it receives levy receipts and publish it on its website, according to the The Community Infrastructure Levy (Amendment) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2019 Part 10A 121B. If they do not have a website then the report must be published on the district council’s website.
We understand CIL payments made to the District Council, which should have gone to Hythe Town Council, have been diverted to Biggins Wood; and the preventing of car parking along Military Rd, Hythe. So what are the Green Party – who control, Hythe Council – going to do about their CIL money? We suspect nothing, as they flatter to deceive.
Anyway, we’d ask Folkestone & Hythe District Council to publish the developer contribution data as it has been a legal requirement for quite some time. We’d also ask the Town & Parishes to publish their reports, if they’ve received any money from the district council.
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is Essential in Any Democracy