In May, Ladywell Live spoke to Mayor Damien Egan about the impact of government funding cuts on Lewisham. He made clear one of the casualties of the cuts would be the Local Assemblies Fund, writes Claire Nash.
Assembly funds have been used to support local initiatives in the ward, such as Brockley Max, street tree planting and a host of youth projects. But they are now no more.
In their place comes NCIL. Local ward assemblies will now be involved in the allocation of the Neighbourhood element of the Community Infrastructure Levy.
As someone who until recently wasn’t actively engaged in the local community nor greatly aware of developments made by Lewisham Council, NCIL hasn’t been the easiest subject to understand.
Perhaps many individuals living in the ward will find themselves in a similar situation. So here is my attempt to explain what appears to be involved.
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a levy that local authorities can choose to charge on new developments that meet certain criteria. Lewisham has been collecting this since 2015.
The CIL regulations enable the council to set aside 15 per cent of CIL receipts to spend on priorities to be agreed with the local community in areas where development is taking place.
But where things start to become unclear for me is with the NCIL application process.
Applications for NCIL funding are open to residents of Lewisham, and wards are encouraged to group together to consider funding collaborative projects.
But there has been talk that established groups will have a greater chance of securing funding by being better placed to demonstrate the following:
the CIL Regulations (Reg 59 and/or 59F) ‘to support the
development’ of an area through:
- the provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure; or,
- anything else that is concerned with addressing the demands that development places on an area.
- Provide evidence of how they address a local priority from the priority setting workshop
- Provide evidence of a benefit to a Lewisham community
- Offer value for money
priorities identified in:
- The Corporate Strategy 2018-2022
- The Local Plan
- The Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP)
- Capital Programme
- Other key Council plans
- Project funding
- Project delivery
But some things are clear. The amount of NCIL funding available each year will vary and will be dependent on the amount of development that is happening.
The CIL is only payable on commencement of development and therefore the council cannot forecast how much CIL will be available each year.
Each ward will receive a different amount of funding due to the amount of development happening within it.
Should you wish to read through Lewisham’s Neighbourhood CIL-process guidance, you can view it here.
Assembly volunteers fear the NCIL process will be complex, long-winded, and time-consuming and may not result in much financial gain for wards which have little development.