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Greater Manchester yet to spend £37m in developer contributions

Research from The Strategic Land Group has revealed Greater Manchester councils received £15.7m in Section 106 contributions for the 2017/18 financial year, although there remains £36.8m unspent across the 10 boroughs.

Trafford Council pulled in the highest level of developer contributions at £4.5m, while Bolton received £19,300.

The range is due to different levels of development taking place in each area. Across Greater Manchester as a whole, the average S106 contribution was £1,939 for each home built.

Highways improvements attracted the highest levels of contributions, totalling £4.4m, but affordable housing, open space and education provision also attracted significant sums.

The research is based on information published by councils online, and Freedom of Information requests.

SLG also looked into how much of the money is spent. Wigan and Rochdale did not declare a figure, while the remaining eight councils in Greater Manchester are holding a total of £36.8m in developer contributions – equivalent to more than three times the annual receipt, which SLG suggests means the money may have been held for some time.

The amount held by each authority varies widely. Tameside Council holds £930,000, while Salford Council has an unspent pot of more than £11.8m – almost a third of the regional total.

Manchester City Council and Trafford Council did not provide information on how much of the developer contributions received has been spent.

Salford Council spent more than £2.3m, while Tameside Council spent less than £14,000 from contributions of £449,000. In Wigan, the use of settlement specific infrastructure assessments secured the payment of more than £1.6m for improvements in Standish, Goldborne and Lowton, much of which will be spent on the highways network. The £3.2m received in contributions by Salford City Council is not earmarked for any specific use.

Paul Smith, managing director of The Strategic Land Group, said: “There is a widely-held belief that developers contribute little to the communities in which they build new homes, which simply isn’t the case. Our research provides a snapshot of the funds paid to local authorities to invest in local communities – the most shocking aspect of the research is, in fact, the amount still unspent. Although the holding of contributions isn’t unusual, it appears that some councils have held their pots of money for some time, which will no doubt raise questions from communities, many of which continue to battle the effects of austerity. There will be questions asked around changing needs and whether a process is needed to divert S106 contributions to support other priorities.

“It’s also worth noting that the number of new homes proposed by the GMSF is likely to require significant expenditure on community infrastructure, with as much as £390m paid by developers. That’s a huge contribution towards roads, parks, school places and other infrastructure that wouldn’t otherwise take place. But for that money to have an impact, it’s important that local authorities spend the payments they receive.

“It’s clear that developers stump up a significant amount of money, but it’s vital to have transparency on how – and when – that money is spent by local authorities.”

Read the full research paper –

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Desperate attempted PR by a large developer. All developer contributions do is to mitigate the effects of their development – for instance by providing roads for the new houses. Developers don’t really contribute to the wider community. And in any case these payments are tiny compared to the profits they make from development.

By Peter Black

I have not read the SLG research – and will do so – but I suspect they have misunderstood a basic point. S106 contributions from up to 5 developer contributions have to be all in before the infrastructure they are helping deliver can be funded. It can take several years (and more) before all the contributions are made. That is why the amount unspent “in the bank” looks large. Where improvements/infrastructure is being funded from one development it is more straightforward, but even then we need to have received all the contribution, which can be phased over the whole development, so that it is only on completion that we have all the funding (which again might give the appearance that we have money “in the bank” not doing anything, which is not the case).
Chris Findley, Salford City Council

By Chris Findley

@Peter Black

Yes its plain to see how Developers do anything to contribute to communities other than providing places for people to live and increasing the Local Authority’s Council Tax receipts…

By Mis Manager

“There is a widely-held belief that developers contribute little to the communities in which they build new homes, which simply isn’t the case” – Says the developer….

By Daveboi

Well said Chris Findley

By Alan

Manchester can we have your crumbs?

By Liver Guy

@Liver Guy
Earn your own

By Manchester

A lot of Developer bashing going on in these comments but, it is the Developer’s who have made a significant financial contribution for the ‘greater good’ here and the Council’s combined ineptitude that these funds have not been put to good use.
Better get a shift on or the big bad Developer will be asking for them back !

By Tha' knows

@Tha’ knows. Actually it’s the rather pathetic contributions (given their margins) that developers are compelled to make and attempt every trick to avoid paying that is the only real source of funding for infrastructure in many areas. These contributions are not nearly enough to fund high quality, walkable, well connected neighbourhoods so little wonder people are as anti-development as they are.

It’s truly absurd, if hardly surprising, that outfits like SLG don’t appear to even understand the basic rules around accrual and spending of s106 contributions as explained by Chris Findlay, above. Or perhaps they do and all they’re really interested in is minimising s106 so they can capture more of the value of the up lift in land value for themselves.

By Strategic Land Conpany Watch

When are we gonna see Eccles new road m5 2QG
Going to be built .Salford council been fantastic
Over the years
Can you please let us know
Thank you

By Ansari