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Millions Of Pounds Secured For Improvements

Wakefield Council has secured millions of pounds in contributions from developers to pay for infrastructure improvements associated with new development.

The Council’s Cabinet will discuss at their meeting next week a report which shows nearly £5.7m came in from Section 106 agreements last year.

Some £2.3m was spent on improving schools, sustainable transport, including foot paths and cycleways, affordable housing, public open space and sports facilities.

Section 106 agreements are where developers pay to off-set the impact of their development proposals.

One of the biggest amounts invested from Section 106 funding, £493,391, was put into education, and £1.2million was spent on improving the district’s highways.

Just over £270,000 went into providing affordable homes, 132 affordable homes were provided directly by developers, while public open space benefitted from more than £170,000.

Further examples of improvements delivered in 2021/22 include:

  • Expansion of Kettlethorpe School
  • Wrenthorpe Park improvement works
  • Ferrybridge Pavilion
  • Saville Park play area upgrade, Castleford
  • Prince of Wales Northern Relief Road, Pontefract
  • Glasshoughton Southern Link Road

    Cllr Matthew Morley, Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways, said: “These are all projects making a visible difference to the lives of our residents. They also ensure that developments are sustainable and that we build real communities, not just houses.”

    Separately, the Council also received over £850,000 from the Community Infrastructure Levy on developers in the period from April 2021 to March this year.

    It takes the funding pot retained for future strategic infrastructure investment to £3.758m, of which £300,000 is reserved for the Castleford Housing Zone.

    A further £1m is allocated to sport and leisure infrastructure improvements in Stanley following housing growth in the wards of Stanley and Outwood, Wakefield East, Wakefield North and Wrenthorpe and Outwood West.

    This year it is recommended that £500,000 is committed to the Broad Lane Improvement Scheme and £400,000 to a local area improvement scheme in association with the development of Land at Highfield Road, Hemsworth.

    Seventy per cent of the levy is prioritised for projects that will support sustainable growth, prosperity, new jobs, education, skills and housing.
    This covers roads, flood defences, schools, medical facilities, sports and leisure and open public spaces.

    Twenty-five per cent goes to individual wards or Town and Parish Councils, where money has been raised from development, to be spent on local neighbourhood projects, while the remainder covers the cost of administering the levy.

    The Council aims to become a carbon-neutral organisation by 2030 and both funding streams are being used towards achieving that goal.
    Contributions collected through the levy and Section 106 Agreements paid for measures to improve things such as air quality and reduce flood risk.

    It also supported environmental projects, including tree planting as part of the White Rose Forest initiative.

    Cllr Morley added: “All of these projects are putting us in a good position to grow economically and improve the lives of our residents. We’ll continue working with developers to ensure their development proposals are both right for the district and to help them help us deliver on our ambitious targets for sustainable growth.”

    Members of the Cabinet are meeting on Tuesday 11 October at 10.30am. The meeting can be watched live or later on the Council’s website.