MORE NEW HOMES CASH FOR WYCHAVON COMMUNITIES AS COUNCIL IS HAILED AS ROLE MODEL BY GOVERMENT
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MORE NEW HOMES CASH FOR WYCHAVON COMMUNITIES AS COUNCIL IS HAILED AS ROLE MODEL BY GOVERMENT

Communities in the Wychavon district council are set set to receive further significant sums from the government’s “New Homes Bonus” while the council itself is being praised as a role model other councils should follow.

The scheme, which began in April 2011, is based on the council tax of additional homes and those brought back into use, with an additional amount for affordable homes, for the following six years. It ensures that those local authorities which promote and welcome growth can share in its economic benefits, and build the communities in which people want to live and work.

Peter Luff, MP for the central area of Wychavon including the towns of Droitwich and Evesham, spoke today of his delight as the government announced a payment this year to the council of £799,217. A further payment of the New Homes Bonus to Worcestershire County Council will total £848,371.

Peter said,

“This is excellent news for the communities of Wychavon. Really valuable social schemes can go ahead in the local communities where these homes have been built and brought back into use, bringing direct benefit to precisely the areas where the homes have been created.

“And it’s really good to see Wychavon singled out for praise by Housing Minster Grant Shapps. In a newsletter accompanying the announcement, the government explains the careful process of local engagement undertaken by the council to make sure local communities feel involved in the process.

“This is another feather in the cap of a really well run council.”

In the newsletter, the Department for Communities and Local Government describes community engagement on the New Homes Bonus in Wychavon:

“After consultation with its local communities in summer 2011, Wychavon District Council published its protocol in September detailing the use of the monies received from the New Homes Bonus. The aim of which was “…to ensure that the economic benefits of growth are returned to the local authorities and communities where that growth takes place”.

“Wychavon council consulted with local representatives on the New Homes Bonus. The purpose was to provide a briefing of the scheme, the proposals for use of the monies and how areas could benefit. The aim was to invite views on the proposals, seek feedback on how the money should be used and identify items that the monies could be spent on in their areas. The consultation comprised of two processes: a targeted consultation and an evening event.

“A targeted consultation was run for approximately 4 weeks: the draft New Homes Bonus protocol and a set of nine questions were sent out to all town and parish councils, local MPs, members of Wychavon Strategic Partnership, the three area-based partnerships and the other Worcestershire councils. More details can be found at the link below. An evening event for parish and town council representatives allowed for a direct conversation including, a presentation, group discussion, questions and feedback.

“After community engagement the final protocol allows parishes to choose where to reinvest up to 40 per cent of the bonus on community facilities and infrastructure – for example, village hall improvements, flood protection, bus subsidies, play areas, allotments and green initiatives.

“For more detail: http://www.wychavon.gov.uk/cms/pdf/New%20Homes%20Bonus%20Scheme%20protocol2.pdf

“I especially support the principle of communities taking a lead to decide how they wish monies to be spent within their local areas…” [Resident who took part in the consultation]

“[it is a] transparent, local scheme… and we aim to return the money to communities” [Managing Director]”

ENDS

Note to editors

The Wychavon sum includes the second year 1 instalment of £361,276 and the first year 2 instalment of £437,941. This year 2 instalment will be paid for 6 years. It includes the first affordable homes premium of £19,320.

The Worcestershire County Council figures includes the second year 1 instalment of £431,254 and the first year 2 instalment of £417,117. This year 2 instalment will be paid for 6 years. It includes the first affordable homes premium of £33,040.


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