Waltham Council utilises cash from developers

Developers in Waltham Forest collectively paid £6.3million into the public purse last financial year – and this is how the council spent it.

Waltham Forest Council received £2m in Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds and £4.3m in Section 106 funds over the year, as part of its agreements with developers seeking planning permission.

This cash can be demanded to compensate for a lack of affordable housing or to pay for improvements to the surrounding area, such as increasing the capacity of local services to cope with new residents.

Despite investment in areas like the environment, the council held on to a large chunk of this money, carrying £8.8m in unspent Section 106 funds into the current financial year.

At a meeting last month, cabinet member for housing Louise Mitchell celebrated the work “the housing team is able to do with these additional funds”.

She said: “In particular, the project at Longfield House, which includes installation and replacement of solar panels on the roof.  It sounds dry but it’s been absolutely fantastic.”

The largest chunk of Section 106 money spent last year went to carbon offset projects, such as charging points for electric vehicles, solar panels and Green Homes Grants.

A comparatively small amount – £68,000 – was spent on housing, plus £1m for employment, £750,000 on roads, £420,000 on healthcare and £230,000 on regeneration.

Through Section 106 agreements, property developers also agreed to build 375 more ‘affordable’ homes, which vary from council properties rented at half the cost of market rent to shared ownership or ‘intermediate rent’ flats.

The £2million in CIL funds were spent on a range of projects including improving Lea Bridge Station, Lea Bridge Library and Langthorne Park.

Using CIL funds saved from previous years the council has also ring fenced £9million for improvements to Leyton Tube Station, although this depends on an equal investment from cash-strapped TfL.

TfL has been approached for comment on whether they can still afford to contribute to the station refurbishment.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter