Southall Short-changed on Section 106 Funding ??

short-changedAny new development will effect the area in which it is built, such as increased traffic flow or economic regeneration for instance. In order to mitigate any negative impact of new developments, councils can enter into a Section 106 agreement (under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended), otherwise known as a ‘planning obligation’, with developers, requiring them to provide contributions to offset negative impacts caused by construction and development.

Examples of contributions range from the provision of affordable homes and new open space to funding of school places or employment training schemes. Developers can be asked to contribute towards the costs of providing community and social infrastructure which arises as a result of a new development taking place.

It should be noted that Section 106 agreements are not to be used as a way for the council to share in the profits from a development or as an inducement offered by a developer to gain planning permission.

A scan of recent council minutes and related documents makes for interesting reading on Ealing councils stance and track record with regard to Section 106 Monies for Southall; at the Southall Area Committee meeting of 27/11/07 Mr Twyman asked if Southall Councillors were consulted about Section 106 spend. The majority replied that they weren’t consulted. At the same meeting Mr Virdee stated that with reference to Section 106 funding, there should be improvements for Southall and that the Framework isn’t tangible or addressing the problems the area faces now.

Here is an extract from the minutes of the Southall Area Committee meeting of 23/02/08:

The Chairman [Councillor Dhindsa] introduced the report and explained that there is £91,200 of money from Section 106 agreements available and outlined the recommended proposals and projects in 2.2, including £40,000 for a Southall Car Park Study, £46,200 for Town Centre Improvements and £5,000 for CPZ and Parking Solutions on Montague Waye. The Chairman went on to express concern that he did no think councillors have been consulted on the £1,659,404 already spent or committed to existing projects.

Questions are also being asked whether £20,000 spent on the ‘Festival Lights’ is effective use of the money or simply a waste. Section 106 money being spent on the Borough Apprenticeship Scheme is also under scrutiny by residents.

It is high time our councillors [Gurcharan Singh (Con), Jagdish Gupta (Con), Jarnail Singh Jandu (Con), Jasbir Anand (Lab), Kamaljit S Dhindsa (Lab), Maninder Kaur Keith (Con), Manjit Singh (Con), Mohammad Aslam (Lab), Rajinder Mann (Lab), Ranjit Dheer (Lab), Swarn Singh Kang (Lab), Tej Ram Bagha (Lab), Tejinder Singh Dhami (Lab), Virendra Sharma (Lab), Zahida Abbas Noori (Lab) ] flexed their elected power to ensure Southall does not continue to be short-changed when it comes to section 106 funding.

short-changed cartoonSome residents have also expressed a concern that Section 106 monies are being misappropriated, such as the money for Business Incubator Units and the Apprenticeship Scheme. We would argue that it is imperative for the council to be transparent about section 106 monies raised and how it is spent. Click here for the latest summary of section 106 monies for Southall.

At a meeting on 13th November Cabinet asked council officers to suggest projects to the area committees which would be funded by available section 106 funds. Subsequently, a recent report titled “S106 – update and proposals for the allocation of S106 monies” sets out recommendations for the expenditure of the S106 monies and asks the area committee to comment on these recommendations prior to seeking Cabinet approval for expenditure.

We urge residents to ask their councilors what interest they are taking in this matter, and insist that section 106 money be spent with with care to ensure we can enjoy tangible improvements in our quality of life. We would further urge the council to consult with us the residents, rather than allowing officers to implement proposals dreamt up in isolation.

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About geezer

The time has come. A new dawn awaits. Shake off the lethargy and rise to the challenge of reclaiming your quality of life! Fight for what you deserve - after all you have been paying the council tax. Resolve to be fobbed off no longer, rise and make your voice heard!
This entry was posted in accountability, finance audit, planning applications, scrutiny, section 106. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Southall Short-changed on Section 106 Funding ??

  1. AR says:

    Just visited the Southall Pride website and I must say it is nice to see that someone has got initiative to do something about the state of our town…….

    Websites like these can get a campaign rolling very quickly.

    I only found out about your site last week by word of mouth from a chap who is very keen to see Southall’s state improve. You need to give it more exposure to the wider public. More and more photos highlighting issues would be worth it – images have greater impact than words.

    We have so many issues:

    1. Too many alcohol outlets in southall (with booze imported). Every God damn shop is licenced to sell booze……!
    2. Illegal immigrants causing major problems from drink related brawls to dodgy builders jobs
    3. Rubbish (fly tipping) – which is leading to major Rat infestation. I don;t ever remember seeing Rats when i was a kid. The worst thing I saw was mice………..arggggghhhhhh! Now I have seen too many Rats.
    4. Traffic flow problems (eg 5.30pm at the green towards Bridge!!!)
    5. Too many houses converted into rentals (bet you many of them are not even registered with council or insurance).

    On the plus side I must admit “Graffitti” seems to be on the low side specially with the ant-graffitti campaign setup by the council.

    The quieter the residence remain the bigger the problem becomes. Campaigns do not need to be negative towards any individuals or committee but they do need to be affective and bring across the points strongly and clearly.

  2. This Council is fully committed to the development and prosperity of Southall

    For your website to infer that there is no consultation and no openness in how Section 106 monies is allocated would be short of the truth

    At my direction Officers met with the Chairman of Southall Area Committee in December and again in January on this very subject and then the matter was discussed in public at Southall Area Committee

    You will recall that the previous administration seemed to lose sight of the S106 monies and this Conservative administration took the initiative to track it all down. This meant that over £91,000 of money has now been unearthed for use in Southall

    As ths Administration is so committed to Southall we have commissioned a Master Plan document. This is the subject of a public meeting Wednesday 27 Feb 7:00 pm at Hambrough Primary School, South Road, Southall

  3. geezer says:

    Thank you for your comments Councillor Millican. Below is a brief response to the points you raise.

    Southall Pride’s campaign for a better Southall is not aligned to any political party, and we seek to work constructively with the council to bring about positive change in Southall, regardless of political complexion. So if it is indeed the case that your party has ‘unearthed’ over £91,000 of money for use in Southall, then we are are thankful to you. But we suspect Labour may have something very different to say on this matter.

    When council minutes actually record that Southall councillors felt they were not consulted on section 106 funding, what conclusion are we to draw? Perhaps the minutes in question need to be looked at? We certainly feel no regret in asking our councillors to take keen interest on section 106 monies for Southall to ensure the funds are not wasted, and used to deliver real benefits.

    The issue of public consultation and community involvement is extremely important for us, many residents being of the view that much of the consultation is ineffective and unrepresentative (such as the CPZ consultation). We hope to discuss this in more detail in an upcoming article.

    Regarding the Masterplan, we would be grateful if Ealing council could provide a link on the Ealing website to the terms of reference for the Southall Masterplan, how the consultants were selected and what they will be recommending. We would also like to know whether Section 106 money will be used to produce the Masterplan.

  4. Eric Leach says:

    Good to see residents campaigning about these issues. Quoting proceedings in Southall Area Committee will soon be just a collectors’ item as all Area Committees are due to be done away with soon. Sort of in their place will be Ward Forums. This may well make it difficult for Southall-wide issues to be discussed as local democratic meetings with resident involvement will only exist for these arbitrary groups of 11,000 residents (ie Electoral Wards). It’s even worse for West Ealing as our town covers parts of five Wards!

    On the plus side I do think that the current Council is trying to help.

    Your point about ‘the funds are not wasted, and used to deliver real benefits’ is a very telling one.

    Good luck.

    Eric Leach
    Vice-Chair
    West Ealing Neighbours

  5. Shah Muhmud says:

    Wow! Its fantastic to see people taking interest in agendas which directly and permanently affect people’s lives especially being part of the BME group. I am not from Southall but have been there several times and the vibes are fantastic.

    Not being in the ‘loop’ with new development, income generation opportunities, consultation are clearly hard to bear, but I think it is vital to work with local politicians and policy makers to negotiate change. Specifically with development make sure you have enough leverage to shape the changes and negotiations.

    There need to be stakeholders who are willing to fly the flag of the developers and and thus an opportunity make a ‘deal’. Be bold and prepare to say you will ‘pull the plug’ if things are not in interest of the community. Don’t rely on proxy ‘Independent’ companies trying to ‘consult’ the community as his wages come from developers and so his interest is clear. I say push him out the way and talk direct to the land manager and Senior Planning Officer. Find people in the council (the leader preferably) with power to make things happen. But be sure that you are not enticed by any hidden bribes in the form of Corporate Social Responsibility or Section 106 (which is an obligation on the developers side anyway) These can be entertained later.

    People need to make things happen especially ther younger people. They will be future politcians, activists and change advocaters. Use them to your benefit and get them mobilsed in decision making and local politcs. Otherwise, bleak will be the future of Southall.

    Shah Muhmud – Youth and Community worker – East London – Tower Hamlets
    Representing…

  6. geezer says:

    Shah, a lot of interesting points in your comment. Have to agree with mobilising residents to active interest in local issues and influence decision making!

  7. George says:

    As an occasional blogger on Ealing Today and P Taylor’s, I have just chanced on your site which seems full of potential. I see from your comments that you are very busy campaigning and so less time is available for your blog comments.

    I have no doubt that some of the issues affecting Southall are being experienced across the whole borough. It would be good if you could highlight some of these a little more frequently and I hope that I and others will offer more support.

    Also common messages coming from more borough residents will mean that the Councillors will have to be less deaf.

    Best wishes for success.

  8. geezer says:

    George , thank you for your comment and offer of support.

    It is indeed true that campaigning is taking much of our time, but we hope to put up some more posts in the near future.

    Unfortunately the majority of residents in Southall are not very active and prefer to take a ‘back seat’ approach when it comes to trying to improve the town and quality of life.

    But we will keep trying….

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