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Developers' £1m lies unspent in city council coffers
MORE THAN £1m of developer cash is sitting in city council coffers waiting to be spent.
Eight infrastructure projects in the east of Oxford have been completed in the past year thanks to contributions from builders.
But Oxford City Council has a further £1,083,116 in money handed over in Section 106 agreements to spend in the east of the city.
However David Rundle, vice chairman of the council’s east area planning committee, warned residents the amount of money was misleading. He said: “The headline figure doesn’t convert into a bucket of money available which can simply be used. This is rarely money without strings attached.”
The payments are made as part of planning agreements to help provide infrastructure improvements.
Projects completed this year with developer cash were a cycle link between Marsh Lane and Stockleys Road, a new building at Barton Village Pavilion, replacement sports facilities in Cowley Marsh, improvements to play areas in Bury Knowle Park, Florence Park, and St Christopher’s Place, affordable housing in Rose Hill and a work of art at the Milham Ford site.
For most of the schemes, the money from developers only provided a portion of the funds needed to complete the work.
Negotiations are currently in place to partially replace the Section 106 arrangement with the Community Infrastructure Levy, where instead of developers providing money for a specified area, for example traffic or amenity space, priorities will be drawn up by the council and developers will contribute towards the pool of schemes.
Mr Rundle said: “Often communities wonder where has the money gone.
“In my ward (Headington), it’s more frustration than celebration because some of the monies have been directed to the park-and-ride rather than measures in the specific local area.”
But he pointed out that another scheme, the development of the Park Hospital site off Old Road, would see money going towards a residents’ parking scheme.
Money held by the council for developments in the area includes £48,000 for a cycle link and infrastructure measures in Barton, £4,807 to enhance facilities at the Bullingdon Centre, £225,800 for a new community centre in Rose Hill, just under £20,000 for improving facilities in Wood Farm and Headington community centres, and £60,000 to relocate street sports from Cuddesdon Way, with a new skate park due to be installed in Frys Hill this year. Other contributions will go towards the new Blackbird Leys swimming pool.