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Lower cash handout proposed for Broadland communities accepting new housing

12:00 11 January 2013

Archant

Communities are set to receive a lower cash handout for accepting new housing developments.

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Broadland District Council’s Conservative cabinet is proposing it should keep 70pc of its £313,655 new homes bonus (NHB) grant from government for 2013/14, with the remaining 30pc handed to parish and town councils.

The NHB is given to councils for every new house built or for bringing empty properties back into use. Broadland received £445,000 between 2010 and 2012. This was split 50/50 to allow parishes to develop community facilities, including play equip-ment. The areas where more houses were built, such as Sprowston, received a greater share.

But Paul Carrick cabinet member for finance, said the NHB was now recognised as part of funding for councils, and around £93,000 of the 2013/14 grant would be given away rather than £156,000.

Mr Carrick said: “The new homes bonus is external support from the government to allow us to operate. I’d like to suggest that we still recognise those parishes that have taken additional properties.”

James Joyce, overview and scrutiny (O&S) committee chairman, said this panel wanted the cash to be split 50/50.

He added: “We did express disappointment the housing incentive fund had not been used and greater effort should be made to publicise it.”

Broadland’s £222,000 share of the NBH from 2010 to 2012 remains unused. It was put into the council’s housing incentive fund, which is designed to offer interest free loans to builders to encourage them to kick-start projects.

The authority will allocate its 70pc share for 2013/14 into this fund.

Mr Carrick said: “If we have to have one criticism levelled at us it’s not making the builders and people who build the houses aware this money is available, which I’m hoping will be addressed.”

There are more than 2,200 houses with planning permission from Broadland yet to be completed.

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