Following the staggering revelation that Herts County Council holds more unspent “community” Section 106 money than any other local authority in England, Lib Dem planning spokesman Cllr Sandy Walkington has condemned the ruling Conservative group for being slack and inefficient.
Section 106 agreements are negotiated between a developer and the council to offset social and environmental costs of new development. A BBC Freedom of Information request has revealed that Hertfordshire County Council is sitting on £56 million.
“This is more that £50 for every man, woman and child in the county,” Sandy said. “Heaven knows, it’s tough enough for everyone in the current spending climate, so it’s shocking that so much money is lying idle. It’s even worse that the figures reveal that Herts has had to return £691,000 just in the current period to developers because it missed the time limit to allocate the money. ”
Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on Herts County Council, said “This news comes hard on the heels of our discovery that the county has spent £7 million on maintaining empty buildings because they have no strategy for the property portfolio. We have been challenging the ruling group for years over their failure to spend Section 106 monies, and today’s revelations show that the figures are getting worse, not better. The Conservative ruling administration needs to get a financial grip. It’s what the people of Hertfordshire deserve.”