NWPEPC is considering how to prioritise investment in the local community from the c. £70,000 it expects to receive from Dacorum BC in respect of the recent housing development at Valerie Way under a government initiative called the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). At this stage the council is just looking at how to assess possible investment projects, it isn’t looking for ideas of possible projects – that will come later. This page contains feedback from the public consultation undertaken in March and April 2023 as at 3rd April 2023.
Q1. Rank the following characteristics of possible investments in the community in order of importance
A. The number of residents impacted by a project is the most important criteria by a significant margin, the amount of additional funding available and length of time a project might last are both secondary considerations.
Any other characteristics that should be considered?
A number of people referred to the importance of the environmental impact, sustainability and the type of community member that would be benefited (see Q2 below).
Reference was also made to any restrictions on the use to which the funds could be spent:
- There are legal restrictions on what the Parish Council can spend money on (it can’t for example spend money on the fabric of churches) and these would apply to funds received from CIL.
- There are also specific constraints relating to CIL funds, notably that they should be used on infrastructure rather than day-to-day expenditure, and that they have to be used withing five years of receipt.
Q2. Rank possible areas for investment in the local community.
A. Benefitting community wellbeing was the most important followed by benefitting the environment, benefitting children and older residents attracted broadly equal ratings in third place, and the least important by some margin was benefitting the local economy.
Any other areas for investment that should be considered?
Possible additional criteria that will be considered:
- People on low incomes
- This is a semi rural Parish and any investment should not have an urbanising effect, and should improve the natural environment and the character of the area.
The most frequently referenced area in this section was improved parking around The Plough and the school. This is technically a project to be considered under the next phase of the Council’s considerations, but whilst not precluding this as a possibility it’s worth noting that:
- Although the Parish Council owns both Spencer Holland Recreation Ground and The Green, there are legal restrictions on the use to which the land can be used which would largely preclude the provision of additional parking.
- The Village Hall has trialled making its car park available for parking at school drop-off but unfortunately the scheme was abused impacting the hall’s fee-paying clients and so had to be abandoned.
Other possible projects mentioned were accessibility, a new notice board and something for teenagers are technically projects and will be considered in the next phase. Funding for trees in the gardens of the Rambling Way properties impacted by Valerie Way unfortunately probably falls outside the scope of what CIL can be used to fund as it wouldn’t benefit community infrastructure.
The state of the verges in Little Heath Lane and Vicarage Rd were also mentioned and would be another project, but it’s worth using this as an example of how the assessment criteria could apply:
- That there have been discussions with Hertfordshire Highways (who generally own the verges) about the ability to place logs, posts or other similar devices to protect the verges but there was no appetite from Highways to pursue this and the Parish Council has no powers to take it forward by itself.
- That the alternative of placing kerbs along the verge risks urbanising the parish.
- It is debatable whether a project like this would benefit a sufficiently large number of people which was the primary consideration listed under the first question.