Funding from developments pays for public projects in Waltham Forest

Developers granted permission to build in Waltham Forest last year are giving the council £22million to fund public projects.

Last week, Waltham Forest Council leaders received a report on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and section 106 payments received last financial year.

CIL is an automatic charge for every square metre of floor space, while section 106 payments are negotiated with developers to “mitigate” the impact of construction.

While not all of last year’s funds have been allocated yet, £9m has been set aside to increase capacity at Leyton Station, £2.8m for a new entrance to Walthamstow Central Station and £3.5m for Lea Bridge Station.

Other chunks of funding already agreed include £375,000 to improve play spaces around the borough and £275,000 to improve the cycle route in Forest Road that passes the town hall.

Last week, chair of the council’s growth scrutiny committee, Marie Pye, questioned how the council chooses to spend “neighbourhood” funds – the 15 per cent of CIL funds from each development that must be spent in their immediate vicinity.

She said: “What comes through the report is corporate decision-making with huge amounts of money and I’m a little bit concerned that sometimes the community is not fully involved.

“I’d like to see more democratisation of how this money is spent, we need to have some transparency.”

Assistant director of place and design Sarah Parsons said that the council is “working really hard” to address the way this neighbourhood portion of CIL is spent.

This includes through consulting residents on “frameworks” for their area, such as the Lea Bridge area framework, where many residents asked for a footbridge on Marsh Lane.

In 2021/22 the council spent £6.5m in funds paid by developers on a range of projects, such as affordable housing, planting hundreds of trees or creating school spaces.

Of the £1.8m spent from CIL, £266,000 went towards improving parks, £162,000 towards replacing a 3G football pitch at Drapers Field, Leyton, and £132,000 on 500 more bike hangers.

Of the £5.4m the council spent from section 106 this year, £1.5m went towards affordable housing, although the report did not give any details of homes that are funded.

A further £844,000 went towards education and training, £631,000 towards local infrastructure and £466,000 towards healthcare infrastructure.


Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter