Local councillors divided over which Sheffield communities should share huge pot of cash

Lib Dem Councillor Martin Smith

Which Sheffield communities should share more than one million pounds?

That’s the question which has prompted a row between politicians.

The Community Investment Levy is a charge on all new developments including housing, shops, commercial buildings and hotels. The money is used to provide infrastructure - such as play equipment or highway improvements - to support new developments and benefit residents.

But Labour and the Lib Dems are very divided on where the money should be spent. Labour says there is a “strong moral argument” for allowing CIL money to be spent across the city. So a development in Oughtibridge, for example, could fund new playing fields on the Manor.

But the Lib Dems say the money should be spent in the neighbourhood where the development is being built. If residents in that area are suffering inconvenience, they should get the benefit of CIL cash.

The council began charging CIL in July 2015 so has already built up a pot of money. Eighty percent is spent on major citywide projects such as Don Valley flood defences and improvements to Penistone Road. The row concerns how the remaining £1.1m “neighbourhood” portion is spent.  

Dore and Totley councillor Martin Smith said: “If you build a housing development, the community should get a few pounds for some extra play equipment in the local park or a pedestrian crossing. Communities expect money will be spent in their local neighbourhood.

“These are relatively small amounts of money that can make a huge difference to the neighbourhood but people want it to be spent in their local area.”

But Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Development, says it is fairer to share it.

“At present, wealthy parts of the city receive far more CIL, but some of the city’s least affluent areas receive nothing at all, because land values are lower.

“In addition, developers are often not required to pay CIL if wishing to develop in areas of greatest deprivation. This is a good way to kick-start needed development, but it means some areas of our city lose out, whilst the wealthiest parts continue to acquire more.

“There is a strong moral argument for allowing CIL money to be spent more widely, so that it benefits all of Sheffield.”

The council is consulting on the best way to spend CIL. You can give you comments here until Friday, September 14 https://sheffield.citizenspace.com/communities-business-strategy/use-of-the-community-infrastructure-levy/

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