Section 106 Dues Being Settled (Almost)

A year has passed since I last wrote about Cornwall Council’s constant battle with developers and their obligations on Section 106 agreements. The team behind chasing up the agreements should be congratulated on the work they have done in making sure agreements have been settled.

However, there are many developers who are not honouring their agreements and in fact go down legal channels to change their obligations once they have completed their project. During the planning process they generally make great claim they are entering into these agreements, but six months later do their most to wriggle out of them.

106 agreements are an important part of the planning process and help to pay for schools and open spaces, especially in larger developments. For example, The Moors children’s play equipment was funded in part by 106 money; as without this money it would be highly unlikely this park would have been built.

I say to developers, if you enter into the agreement, honour it when you have made your money.

Section 106 – Monies Owed and Paid

In August, (Click HERE to refresh yourself) I blogged about the amount of money that was owed to Cornwall Council by various companies and developers by means of Section 106 orders. So I enquired as to the current state of these obligations. These are the responses I got from the 3 Planning Areas and are from May 2010 to the present date.

East
Admin fees received: East 1 £4950.00 – East 2 £3750.00 – Total £8,700.00
Admin fees outstanding/due: East 1 £1750.00 – East 2 £1500.00 – Total £3,250.00
Obligations paid: East 1 £100,133.11 – East 2 £64,340.68 – Total £164,473.79
Obligations outstanding/due: East 1 £15,070.00 – East 2 £0 – Total £15,070.00

Central
Admin fees received: Central 2 £5,575.40 – Central 1 £22,545.71
Admin fees outstanding/due: Central 1 £200.00 – Central 2 £4,750.00
Obligations received: Central 1 £66,072.08 – Central 2 £1,530,312.64
Obligations outstanding/due: Central 1 £188,732.60  Central 2 £139,756.38
Case with litigation: – 2 Amount outstanding £65,000.00

West
No details received as yet.

I would like to thank those Officers who sent me these details, and more importantly the work they have done in chasing up all the outstanding payments. I was told that after I blogged about Wainhomes and the amount they had outstanding, a cheque suddenly appeared for near the outstanding amount. My only concern is as with the August details, the West Area has no firm details, or it just could be a case of them not being sent to me.

Outstanding obligations owed

It was an interesting morning today at the Planning Procedures Panel in St Austell. On the Agenda was a report about Enforcement. More importantly tucked into the middle of the report was a part on monies outstanding from developers who have certain obligations as part of the planning permission.

The 3 Planning delivery areas (West, Central and East) now have a dedicated officer whose role is to monitor, administer and make sure these payments are met on these obligations. You might say why there is a need for such roles; well I might have well said the same until I found out how much money is in fact outstanding. It’s no small amount; In fact it’s rather large.

In the Central and Eastern areas this amount totals a staggering £1,729,564.83. A large amount of money owed to Cornwall Council. Granted, some of this money has just been invoiced, some £47k of it. The rest is for the last 12 month period.

If you look more closely at the figures, it turns out that a large amount of money is owed by Wainhomes. This amount to £332,908.20 and it’s now with Legal for getting a settlement. At a recent planning meeting this company has decided to take Cornwall Council to the planning appeals process over a large development in St. Austell for non-determination (Link to that Agenda). It’s a little annoying that this whole process will cost the tax payers a lot of money, and yet, they have not settled their previous obligations. I was told that all these outstanding monies are being actively sort. You have to ask yourself how long this will take.

A more concerning matter was the West area was not included. It turns out that the West has a less robust method of monitoring and collecting. In fact it’s just having its records computerised and checked to see how much money is outstanding. I asked the very same questions and the reply was “we are working on it. It’s just taking us a little while as we have to check the last 10 years worth of records”. God Lordy, 10 years worth! Your guess is as good as mine on how much has not been paid, but I am sure it’s not a couple of pounds. Then again, I am not saying that last ten years are outstanding, but they are just checking to make sure. I did make a recommendation that this information was completed within a month (this was indeed passed by the Panel).

To be fair the officers concerned are working on this as they did agree this was not acceptable as this need to be addressed, and sorted with all haste. They have managed to collect £1,354,212.34 in the same period. So at least some of these obligations are being settled.

Stayed tuned for further updates on this matter. Especially anything concerning the latest information for the West. Here is the Link for that Agenda for other issues that were raised and discussed.