Recent figures suggest Westminster City Council is sitting on £250m in unspent section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments. This money is supposed to be spent on local infrastructure to mitigate the impact property development has on an area. Westminster are far from being the only local authority to be sitting on such volumes of cash.
So why, when there is such a shortage of things like affordable housing, has this money not been spent?
One possible theory is that councils are 'saving up' for larger projects rather than spending all of the income each year. Another suggestion is that the money becomes so tied up with red tape that projects such as local authority housing developments are doomed before a brick is even laid. Political considerations may also be a factor.
What ever the reason for the lack of spending, the main issue has to be that these developer levies are not achieving what they were intended for.
“My big issue is that all this shows that CIL is not achieving what it was intended to achieve,” she says. “They have not spent it, and they should spend it – it is there to be spent. The intention is that it goes on infrastructure delivery.”