Council hits back at allegations over unspent money

Coun Simon Cooke

Coun Simon Cooke

First published in News

A Tory politician has accused Bradford Council of “sitting on millions of pounds”.

Councillor Simon Cooke – whose Bingley Rural ward includes Cullingworth and Denholme – said the unspent money had been given by developers for improvements to education and recreation facilities, and affordable housing.

The Section 106 funding is provided when planning permission is granted for large developments.

“The Council has received £1,185,370 for improvements to education services, and not one penny of it has been allocated for use,” said Coun Cooke.

“I find this remarkable in light of the Council’s need for additional school places and repairs to existing schools.

“Also, the Council has £3,301,937 available for affordable housing sat in an account, having only spent £76,000 of the money paid to it originally. This, too, is shocking when one considers the Council repeatedly complains there is not enough affordable housing within the district.”

He added there was also £232,300 of unspent money for recreation.

But Coun Val Slater, Bradford Council’s executive member for housing, planning and transport, said Section 106 money legally has to be used for an agreed purpose, and can’t always be spent immediately.

She added: “With regards to affordable housing, money is given when the developer can’t provide the affordable housing on-site and so instead gives the Council the cash equivalent. That money has to accumulate until there is sufficient to go and build the houses. We work with registered housing providers to identify appropriate sites. We are talking with several providers at the moment, and it’s likely the money will be allocated shortly.”

She said the recreation money is allocated following consultation with ward councillors and user groups.

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