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Letter: Reform UK Candidate Is Wrong About Section 106 Money

Published on: 2 Jul, 2024
Updated on: 2 Jul, 2024

From: Fiona White

Lib Dem borough councillor for Ash Wharf

In response to: What Ash and Tongham Residents Need To Know About Developer Contributions in Ash & Tongham

In his letter, Mr. Drage has attempted to oversimplify the complex issue of S106 planning payments. It important to describe the process correctly.

First, any money for education – early years learning, primary and secondary schools – is collected by Guildford Borough Council on behalf of Surrey County Council who are the education authority. The borough council is not responsible for ensuring the way in which Surrey County Council spend money on county matters, such as education. Some S106 agreements refer to a specific school.

Where that happens, the money can only be spent on that school. Where there is no reference to a specific school the money can be used on any school but only within the proximity of the development. Each S106 agreement will have trigger points at which the money has to be paid, for example on completion of the 100th house.

The money can only be used to create additional spaces in schools associated with the new developments. It can’t be used to repair or update existing buildings unless that means that new places are created.

To be more specific about the Ash developments, some of the agreements refer to Ash Grange School. That money is being paid over as the trigger points are reached for each development. Surrey County Council will need to go through a proper assessment and procurement process before that money can be spent.

St Paul’s School in Tongham is a Church of England School. None of the other schools in the Ash and Tongham areas are church schools. Parents have a right to choose to send their children to a church school. The creation of additional spaces at St Pauls is to meet that parental choice. The decision was made after a full consultation with the schools in the local area and not just on a whim.

Finally, to address the issue of money having to be returned to developers, Surrey County Council has a department where they monitor the terms of S106 agreements and flag up where the timescale is expiring.

Godalming & Ash Candidates as at May 26 2024

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