LOCAL councillors are to be more involved in deciding how to spend cash from developers.
Under planning rules developers can be required to make cash contributions to improve local facilities as part of the conditions on planning permission.
Kirklees Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel for Regeneration has taken a fresh look at how this money is spent and has decided more input from local councillors is needed.
It decided that councillors should be regularly updated on cash contributions being made thanks to developments in their ward areas.
Clr Peter McBride, the panel’s chairman, said: “This is a complex area and there have been many valid reasons why progress has been slow in some aspects of getting to grips with the key issues.
“Those key issues remain the involvement of councillors at local level in having their say on how money from developer agreements is best spent on improving local facilities, together with a much more coordinated approach across the council’s services in making sure money is spent as wisely as possible, and on the right services and facilities locally.”
There are also plans to have a special officer in the council’s planning department to ‘pull’ information from ward councillors and departments together.
Clr McBride said it was important to get spending right, as large amounts of cash could be involved.
He added: “The sums of money we are talking about are very significant.
“In total they have topped £10m over the last five or six years.
“The contributions have ranged from a £5m-plus contribution to provide affordable housing, down to much smaller sums of money to provide open space and recreation facilities on smaller developments.”
Clr Ken Sims, the council’s Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “I recognise the complex work that the scrutiny panel has undertaken with regard to the merging of recommendations from various reports.
“I would like to thank them for the diligent and professional way this task has been accomplished.
“With regard to the details of the recommendations I look forward to the opportunity to endorse a masterplan, identifying actions and responsibilities flowing from the report.”