‘Millions may have been missed in infrastructure payments’ claim

County Hall
County Hall

The county council may have missed out on millions of pounds for infrastructure improvements due to mismanagement, according to one of its councillors.

Lib Dem Steven Lambert has criticised Bucks County Council for failing to provide an officer who is responsible for chasing grants provided by developers of major projects.

The role has been vacant since June 2012 with the council instead choosing to use a number of different people to monitor the payments, known as section 106.

Mr Lambert said: “It is corporate negligence in my view. Corporate negligence on behalf of the residents of Buckinghamshire.

“They have created a scatter-gun approach which developers will have taken advantage of.

“We could have missed up to several million pounds.”

The council admitted in a report to councillors that agreements are ‘not negotiated hollistically’ and it is ‘essentially reliant on developers to submit s106 payments on time’.

But John Rippon, business manager for the council planning service and author of the report, maintains that no payments have been missed.

He said the onus is on the developer to notify the council when payment is due.

He said: “The council is on track with s106 contributions from developers, and up-to-date with payments.”

The council says it is currently putting in place a more ‘robust s106 monitoring regime which includes creating a new strategic s106 role to liaise with developers of major projects’.

It also outlines the ‘next steps’ as completing a redesign to take account of ‘organisational change and loss of resources.’

The report states that of the £47 million allocated towards education provision in signed s106 agreements, an estimated £22 million is outstanding (47%). For the £6.8 million allocated to transport, an estimated £1.9 million (28%) is yet to be received.

However, the council says this outstanding money is not yet due to them and will be collected once certain milestones are reached by the developers.