Aine Groogan

Multi million pound developer contribution fund shoved under the Belfast City Council mattress

Monday 12 November 2018

Áine Groogan, Green Party representative for Botanic, has said that Belfast City Council must use developer contribution funding for the benefit of local communities.   

Enquiries made by Áine have uncovered that a £3million developer contribution fund has remained unspent by the Council since 2016.

Developer contribution funds are collected and allocated to manage the impact of development on local communities. The process is laid out in Section 76 of the Planning Act (NI) Order 2011.

Áine’s enquiries found that £1,657,820 was collected from developers in 2016.

£375,700 was collected in 2017.

£850,046 was collected in 2018.

That makes a total of over £2.8 million since 2016.

Belfast City Council has indicated that around £0.5 million will be used for a “pilot” project in the city if ratified by Councillors in the coming weeks.

Nevertheless, Áine is concerned that communities have not benefitted from this money in the way the Planning Act had intended they should. Áine claims that Belfast City Council lack a vision and strategy for how the fund should be used to benefit local communities.

Áine Groogan said.

“Almost £3 million of public funds has been stashed under the mattress by Belfast City Council because they lack a vision or strategy for how it should be spent.

“Developer contributions are extremely important – they are intended to benefit local people when developments are approved in their area and manage some of the impact of that development. I’m concerned that Belfast City Council hasn’t prioritised local communities throughout the planning process.

“The current spending proposals only account for around 1/3 of the money collected from developers so far. I suspect that these proposals were hurriedly prepared after my enquiries into the management of developer contributions.

“We need greater transparency and accountability around how developer contributions are collected and how they are used for the benefit of local communities.”

ENDS

Media contact
Sinead McIvor
07701 302 498

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