The level of funding recognises the council’s good performance in its planning function including the work it has carried out in making provision for affordable homes for local people. The government has also recognised the growing population numbers in the Harrogate district.
This council was one of the first councils in the country to have its new Local Development Framework approved by the government and the core strategy identifies a need up to 2023 for 390 new homes per year to be built in the district.
The government is leaving councils to decide how to spend the extra money. Harrogate Council, like all other councils in the country, has to provide and absorb the on-going cost of infrastructure services for new homes such as provision of playgrounds, maintenance of parks and open spaces as well as waste and recycling services.
The coalition government’s New Homes Bonus will be in addition to the council’s current and proposed systems of securing developer contributions to mitigate the impact of development. This means that the council will continue to work closely with local communities, house builders, developers and infrastructure providers (such as the education and highway authorities, Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust and Yorkshire Water) throughout the planning and delivery of new homes.
The bonus scheme is not intended to be a permanent feature of council funding and may only last for a couple of years. After that there will be an adjustment made to the government’s formula grant for local government. The council has lost £1.7m in formula grant in 2011-12 and will lose a further £1.0m in 2012-13 in addition to specific reductions relating to the New Homes Bonus.
The council will consider in due course allocation of the New Homes Bonus for 2011-12 in relation to the many spending demands it is now facing.
Visit the council’s website www.harrogate.gov.uk/ldf to read about two major consultation events held the autumn of last year – Rural Areas Consultation and the ‘Be A Planner For A Day. In September and October this year the council will be discussing with residents and businesses of Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon where over 3,000 new homes should be built. These new homes will be a mix of much-needed affordable homes and market housing.