Paul Doherty, Group Leader for Planning, Building Control and Enforcement was welcomed to the meeting.
Members were reminded of the basis of Section 106 payments, which were related to mitigating the site specific impacts of developments. Payments can be levied against areas such as affordable housing, improving community facilities, improving local transport, highways and public rights of way, lessening the impact on the local area, and local employment and training strategies. Members were made aware of the three tests applied to the use of Section 106.
An example was given about how around £8,000 per unit could be levied as a contribution to the provision of education, and it was noted that this was proposed to be increased to around £16,000 following the adoption of the local plan.
The provision of Traffic Regulation Orders by using Section 106 finance was discussed, and it was noted that the recent application to the Section 106 panel to provide an order around The Green area had been unsuccessful.
Members noted that a Section 106 Panel met bi-monthly and had been established in order to oversee the strategic allocation of funds. The method used to score potential schemes in order to provide objectivity was also acknowledged, and Members requested that more detail be provided on this if possible.
The meeting discussed CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) and the reasons why this had been considered, but had not been adopted in Barnsley.
Members were presented with an overview of project delivery in Penistone from 2014 to date with almost £1.3m being allocated. Also considered were projects in the pipeline, totalling in excess of £550,000. Comments were received on the finance allocated to Cannon Hall Park. Whilst it was noted that this was a well-used facility, and of strategic importance in Barnsley, Members discussed whether there could be more local mitigation against the loss of green space and increased pressure on amenities due to housing development.
Those present noted the finance currently available, and requested to be consulted on any schemes being put forward which utilised Section 106 finance generated by developments in the area. In addition Members felt that there were a number of schemes they were aware of that could be funded through the provision of S106 finance; including a potential project to expand the show ground area, and the provision of an interchange at Penistone railway station.
Members noted the difficulties in providing affordable housing in the area, with developers often referring to viability issues. It was noted that options such as purchasing empty homes to bring them back into circulation was an option that could be considered in lieu of provision of housing units on site.
(i) That thanks be given for the presentation;
(ii) That Members be consulted on the potential use of Section 106 finance related to the Penistone Area;
(iii) That the Area Council schedules the item for discussion 2-3 times annually.