Nearly £1m for local improvements in Dudley remains unspent

Nearly £1m for local improvements in Dudley remains unspent

Nearly £1 million earmarked for local improvements in Dudley remains unspent after five years, a freedom of information request to the council has revealed.

But the authority has defended the underspend saying it meets regularly to decide how it uses section 106 cash which it obtains from planning agreements.

The funds are collected as part of conditions imposed on developers when granting planning permission and can be used for schools, parks and other community facilities.



Dudley Council.

The freedom of information request revealed Dudley Council collected £1.48 million over the last five years but spent only £428,000.

Of the remaining £1,052,000, nearly £160,000 has been allocated to projects leaving £893,000 unused in council coffers.

Over the same period, the authority has had to cut services as central Government reduced funding to the borough.

But the council has defended how it spends and allocates the money.

Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: “It is agreed in advance with developers what purpose the section 106 payments will be used for, and they remain ring-fenced for that purpose.

“Deadlines for spending the money vary and can range from five to 20 years – indeed in some cases there is no deadline.

“It depends on the development itself and the purpose for which the cash is being provided.

“Before a proposed spend we consult with councillors in the relevant ward, before a final sign off by the relevant cabinet member.

“This is to ensure any investment adds value to the community and meets both local and strategic needs.

“We also have a corporate working group which meets throughout the year to oversee the receipt, allocation and spend of section 106 monies.”

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