New guidance for developer contributions to be adopted by Hertfordshire County Council

Executive member for growth, infrastructure and planning cllr Stephen Boulton presented the guidance to the cabinet

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 4:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 4:04 pm

Hertfordshire County Council is to set out new guidelines on the contributions that developers should make, to meet the increased demands of an increasing population.

Thousands of new homes are expected to be built in the county over the next 20 years.

And that will increase the need for county council services such as schools, libraries, social care and waste.

Planning stock image
Planning stock image

On Monday, July 12, the new ‘guide to developer infrastructure contributions’ – outlining the contributions the county council believe developers should make – was agreed by councillors.

And it replaces previous guidance, where the base line data used is said to be out of date.

Presenting the guidance to the cabinet on Monday, executive member for growth, infrastructure and planning Cllr Stephen Boulton said it was “a very important piece of work for the county”.

He said it would be used to secure developer contributions towards infrastructure – such as schools, outdoor spaces and recreation, health, transport and waste.

And he said those contributions would be “up to date”, “reasonable” and “proportionate for the demand each development places on Hertfordshire County Council services”.

He also said it would enable investment that would support local people within their local area.”

Meanwhile executive member for the environment Cllr Eric Buckmaster said that it could lead to “timely and appropriate” infrastructure, “a good sense of wellbeing” and to “walkable neighbourhoods”.

“. . . and all of this can make for a healthier lifestyle and for the developers making places where people want to live,” he said.

The new guidance was also welcomed by executive member for highways and transport Cllr Phil Bibby and executive member for education, libraries ad lifelong learning Cllr Terry Douris.

According to the new guidance the cost of the infrastructure required to meet the expected growth by 2032 is estimated to be around £5.7bn.

And estimates suggest that will leave Hertfordshire with a projected funding gap in excess of £2bn.

After highlighting that funding gap, county council leader Cllr Richard Roberts suggested the new guidance would be “helpful” to developers, because of the certainty it offered.

But he suggested it would also give certainty to district councils – who are the local planning authorities – as they carry out their duties.

However the guidance is not a statutory planning document. And it will be up to the individual planning authorities to determine what weight to attach to it.

The report to the cabinet acknowledged that the government has already proposed the introduction of a national infrastructure levy.

And, it said, the guide would provide the county council position until a replacement mechanism was in place.

Councils can ask for Section 106 monies or a Community Infrastructure Levy wherever they are deemed necessary to make a development acceptable in planning terms.