Lib Dems accuse Ealing of being 'chaotic' in dealing with Section 106 funding
Lib Dem Councillors have accused Ealing's administration of being 'chaotic' in the they are dealing with Section 106 money - cash paid by property developers to the Council to be spent on local improvements.
Over a year ago, Cllr Gary Malcolm pointed out that the Council gained from developers only a quarter of what other London councils did – this is 'free money' from developers that residents of Ealing are not getting because the Conservative-led Council are not negotiating hard enough.
Ealing's Cabinet agreed in October 2006 to create an additional post specifically to negotiate these agreements with developers, and staff worked out that this extra officer should bring in between £500,000 and £1 million in additional Section 106 funding per year.
At the Scrutiny meeting, Cllr Jon Ball asked whether the new Section 106 officer had been appointed and was amazed to find that officers did not know. Cllr Ball pointed out to the Leader of the Council that if this post has not been filled, around half a million pounds of potential S106 money have "slipped through the Council's fingers." A report will be made to a future Overview and Scrutiny meeting.
Papers discussed at the meeting also reveal that over £11 million of Section 106 from previous agreements dating back for years is sitting in Council bank accounts instead of being used to improve the Borough.
Councillor Gary Malcolm said: "It is disgraceful that the Council has been so poor at getting money from developers whose developments are causing environmental and transport problems. Also it is unacceptable that the Council has not spent the money it has received to reduce problems caused by developments."
He added: "If this officer has not been appointed, the resulting loss of half a million pounds is a scandal. It exposes the Conservatives' promises of value for money as hollow rhetoric."
August 24, 2007