£20m ‘tax’ from new development in Norwich to be pooled to build roads, schools and libraries

Norwich City Council has agreed to pool its share of a new 'tax' on development.

Norwich City Council has agreed to pool its share of a new 'tax' on development. - Credit: EDP pics © 2007

A 'tax' on new development is likely to generate up to £25m in Norwich, councillors have heard - as they agreed to pool the cash into a fund to pay for roads and other infrastructure.

Norwich City Council tonight agreed to pool its share of the money raised through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to spend on schemes in Norwich and parts of Broadland and South Norfolk.

Through the CIL, developers will have to pay £75 per sqm for residential properties closest to the city, and £50 in the more rural parts of Broadland and South Norfolk.

That money will be used to pay for the infrastructure new developments in the Greater Norwich area - Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk - will need.

South Norfolk and Broadland are also set to pool their CIL money, which could be used for major schemes such as the Norwich Northern Distributor Road and the Long Stratton Bypass.

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But the money is also meant to be used for schools, libraries and sports provision.

A business plan will be drawn up by the councils involved, together with Norfolk County Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, to prioritise where the money will be spent.

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Current estimates are that there will be a funding gap between what will be raised from CIL and what infrastructure will be needed to cope with the 37,000 new homes earmarked for Greater Norwich through the Joint Core Strategy - a blueprint for where homes will be built.

To make up the shortfall, councils will, thanks to the City Deal secured for Norwich, be able to borrow at Public Work Loans Board rates.

But only Norfolk County Council is allowed to borrow in that way, so the three local authorities will have to sign an agreement to give some of the CIL money to County Hall.

Andrew Boswell, leader of the Green group at City Hall raised concerns the pooling would see money 'sucked' into the NDR and road building schemes on the A47, rather than on schools, green infrastructure, community space, libraries and sports provision.

But city council leader Brenda Arthur said: 'By pooling funds in this manner, the council will be able to bring forward investment sooner and exert greater influence on the expenditure of revenues arising in the areas of partner authorities,

'In this regard, the city contribution is relatively modest £20m compared to an overall forecast CIL of over £100m and if only the city's contribution was available, the needs of the city, let alone Greater Norwich, would be vastly underfunded

'It is clear that the intention is to use the funds on a range of infrastructure schemes and to suggest it is used only towards road building is neither helpful nor accurate.'

Ms Arthur added, through her role on the Greater Norwich Growth Board -a partnership of the councils involved - she would seek to 'maximise' benefits to the city.

The pooling was agreed, with Labour and the Liberal Democrats voting in favour and the Greens against.

• Which infrastructure schemes do you think should be given priority? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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