29 January 2017
The Council has recently announced that the already controversial plans to remodel the route to the War Memorial and extend the car park in Victoria Park, have slipped £240,000 over budget. LCC state section 106 money will be used to plug the gap.
Section 106 funds are specific funds paid by developers to mitigate the impact of their developments on the community. Schemes to benefit from this funding tend to include affordable housing, recreation such as childrens’ play spaces, kerbside recycling, and specific expenditure on infrastructure necessary to make the development acceptable, e.g. flood defences.
Section 106 funds are usually linked to a specific development, and cannot be used as a “slush fund”, but LCC and the Mayor have yet to say which developments the funds will be siphoned from. Leicester Green Party condemned the loss of so many trees and an overall lack of transparency at the start of the Mayor’s scheme.
We raised concerns these with the Mayor, asking that he review the plans and hold a public meeting, but he refused. It now seems clear that the original survey, if one was even commissioned, was flawed, too.
Chris Williams, a Spokesperson from Leicester Green Party and Castle Ward candidate in 2015, said:
"Leicester Green Party are appalled at this situation. Months ago, we asked that the Mayor hold a public meeting about this scheme to ensure that it was in the best interests of everyone, but he ignored the public, and the hundreds who signed a petition, and refuses to be transparent and open. He must also tell the public how this terrible situation ever arose, was there a survey, and if no, why not, if yes, was it flawed?
The overspend will mean section 106 money, earmarked for community leisure schemes in the ward, will be used to prop up an overspend on a car park, which LCC will then charge the public to use. We ask that the Mayor is transparent and tells us which community and social infrastructure schemes will now be cancelled as a result of the overspend?
We also ask that the Mayor commit to ensuring that any profits made by the enlarged car park are used to pay back the section 106 money, which are even more vital for communities, at a time when the City is cutting funding for City Adventure Playgrounds."
Note: Section 106 funds explanation http://www.lewes.gov.uk/planning/18796.asp
For further comment, please contact Chris Williams 07718 629 651