Is New Homes Bonus being used to fill black hole in Northumberland CC finances?


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News Release: Is new homes bonus being used to fill black hole in NCC finances? 
Northumberland County Council have been accused of encouraging unsustainable housing development in order to fill their funding gap. 
Local Liberal Democrats are asking the Council to seek community opinions in spending the new homes bonus in order that funds can be used to help support those local community needs.  
Local authorities are entitled to an extra payment of six years worth of council tax from central government for every new home built. Grants are available for affordable housing and bringing houses back into use. Northumberland County Council will receive £6.6m in the current financial year, with much more housing in the pipeline. Government guidance suggest that Local Authorities consult with local communities on the spending of those funds.  
Lib Dem campaigner Julie Pörksen commented: "Many of our local communities in Northumberland such as Warkworth, Amble and Morpeth are facing unprecedented and unsustainable housing growth, taking place contrary to local neighbourhood plans. Section 106 agreements exist but are not enough to meet community needs. Investment in local infrastructure, from roads and parking, and local services such as schools and dentists, is not sufficient to serve current levels of house building. By not asking local communities for input on spending plans I can only assume that Northumberland County Council is just looking to maximise the new homes bonus to fill the black hole in their finances. Many residents I speak to already feel their community's future is under the control of major landowners such as the Duke of Northumberland through Northumberland Estates. Its about time Northumberland County Council started acting on behalf of its residents not just developers and large landowners."
The extra revenue generated by new housebuilding in Warkworth is calculated to be about £1m in the next 6 years. During recent planning applications the community raised about infrastructure such as roads and parking. There has been no consultation on the use of this bonus generated by the new housing. 
Maureen Shepherd, Warkworth Parish Councillor commented: "Northumberland County Council are getting a lot of extra money from all the new houses built in Warkworth. As a local community we haven't been consulted on how these funds might be used best to the benefit of Warkworth and our local area. Government guidance does say that there should be consultation with local communities and we are asking the Council to consult with us in Warkworth before they decide how the money should be spent." 
ENDS. 
Note to editor:
2016-2017 allocations by local authority can be found on:

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