Community's £2m is sitting in bank
Questions have been asked as to why more than £2m intended for community projects is sitting in a council's bank account. Waveney District Council has raked in the cash as part of a system where property developers given permission to build homes or shops are legally obliged to pay for community facilities such as new schools, libraries and plays areas.
Questions have been asked as to why more than £2m intended for community projects is sitting in a council's bank account.
Waveney District Council has raked in the cash as part of a system where property developers given permission to build homes or shops are legally obliged to pay for community facilities such as new schools, libraries and plays areas.
David Young, leader of the council's opposition Liberal Democrat group, spoke out about cash being held by the authority and called for a quicker distribution of the assets.
On Friday, the Tory-led council admitted it had £2.3m from agreements with developers, known as section 106 payments, but insisted there was no freeze on expenditure.
Mr Young said: "I feel this is a large sum for us to be holding on to and we should be examining ways we can spend it. In my mind that money should be spent on what it is supposed to be for - the community.
Mr Young added that the council would be earning significant amounts of interest from the cash, but insisted: "Although it's a nice income, that money should be moving the whole time and should not be accruing to such a large level."
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It emerged that the way the council administers section 106 payments will come under scrutiny in the next few weeks.
Independent councillor Peter Collecott said: "As chairman of the sustainability panel, we are in the process of looking at all aspects of 106 agreements and my panel will be reporting to the scrutiny committee in the next couple of weeks."
A spokesman for Waveney District Council said the vast majority of money had been received during the past year and that £1.4m related to a payment from one developer which had already been earmarked for specific projects such as affordable housing and creating areas of open space.
He added: "There is no freeze on expenditure and the money will be spent as soon as suitable projects are identified in line with the terms and conditions of section 106 agreements.
"Nevertheless, it is worth bearing in mind that section 106 money will be received before developments are completed and this will always mean the funds are held prior to spending on specific projects."
Chris Punt, the council's finance portfolio holder, added: "There is a big balance, but it's up to us as councillors to look around to see where it could be spent."